Scottish rugby's health needs an audit
It's an interesting time in Scottish rugby, especially if you find pain interesting.
I dislike witch doctors, fakirs, gully gully men, and any other human form that tries to pretend that sport is rocket science.
Rugby is actually simple. Whichever team has the best trained raw material with the best game plan wins.
The rest is smoke and mirrors.
Scotland completed a winless Six Nations with defeat in Italy. Pic: SNS.
You've all seen the game so you know what happened so let's try to look forward and guess scenarios.
The first thing we need to do as a country is speak to the Lions logistics man, Guy Richardson. He has been around the countries examining the ways the different teams prepare and we need to know why we are losing. He will know.
It's either the coaching or the players or a strange combination of both.
And that conversation must be part of an audit of rugby's health in Scotland.
The first possibility is that Andy Robinson quits. He brought huge success to Edinburgh but he might feel that as he hasn't given Scotland as many wins as he'd want.
He may even be sacked or negotiated out the door. Players like winning coaches.
He then walks into a plum job elsewhere and we need a new coach after building our systems and planning around him, which is awkward.
I genuinely feel that we should be looking from within for our coaches.
Sean Lineen always knew that he'd have a safer job if he never put himself forward for the national team, and yet for all his alleged failings in man-management and skills coaching, Sean is an organised, nippy, aggressive, targeting coach who, actually, would be better at the highest level than getting bogged down in keeping some players happy week in and week out at club level.
Lineen has grabbed a game plan that works for Glasgow Warriors this year after a poor season last year. He's actually the kind of bloke who would get the best out of a national team.
I think he's the strongest candidate. Remember he hasn't been sacked.
Beneath him we should have been promoting the likes of Craig Chalmers, Ally Donaldson and Peter Wright rather than the next trendy Aussie.
Shade Munro and Tom Smith are also waiting in the wings and the game needs a flow of coaches.
Warren Gatland, a Kiwi, is the exception that proves the rule. The grass is not greener. Though the New Zealand papers have got hold of the fact that we are now targeting players who might be just beneath All Black level but qualify for Scotland.
No matter what happens next we need to ensure that at both Glasgow and Edinburgh we have the best conditioning and skills coaches. And the same at every level beneath them.
Dropped passes in Rome aren't actually Andy Robinson's fault.
The second possibility is that Andy Robinson stays. His record is better than that of Frank Hadden and Matt Williams and better than the second spells of both Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer.
If Andy does stay, his game plan needs to be questioned and, as in the first scenario, the best skills and conditioning coaches should be in Glasgow and Edinburgh and at all levels underneath.
Andy Robinson works with the raw material he is given. We need to give him better raw material.
We need to educate the next group of Scottish coaches and conditioners and equip them with the skills to produce better players.
My last point is that if you're trying to make things better then you have to move mountains. Why accept that you can't make the changes you have to make?
It's a long-term strategy but, as I said last week, it's becoming a numbers game so we need to increase our playing numbers - pay people to take school teams - and finally rugby, I'm afraid, has to become a summer sport in Scotland.
I just don't want us to be perpetually bottom of the table, we have some good players, and we need to move forward.
It's not rocket science.