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Something's afoot for Andy Robinson and Scottish rugby

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John Beattie | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

The problem for Scotland now is that the Lions will be chapping on Andy Robinson's door to coach them on their next tour. Andy Irvine is the manager of Down Under 2013 and he must see what is happening.

But let's leave that subject for another day.

Sometimes you just get lucky. Sitting on the train on the way back from Aberdeen looking at the cars parked on the A90 all the way from Dundee to Gleneagles and imagining the real hardship with which they were presented, reminded me that pure luck, in my case, drove me to buy a train ticket.

Scotland more than deserved to beat Samoa at Pittodrie. But, as Ruaridh Jackson stepped up to kick the winning penalty with seconds remaining, I was reminded that sometimes, just sometimes, you need a substitute player from the opposition to try to pick a ball off the ground in a ruck, within kickable range, and present a local hero with the chance to win a match.

There is something happening in Scottish rugby though. Andy Robinson has engineered wins over Australia, Argentina, Ireland and South Africa all within one season. New players like Richie Gray, Joe Ansbro, and now Jackson, have burst on to the scene and know what it is like to wear the blue jersey.

Most pleasing to me is that Graeme Morrison is producing some of his best rugby, Allan "Chunk" Jacobsen has a down-to-earth approach to an ever-more solid pack, there are queues of players at scrum-half and back row, and you cannot predict Scotland's game plan week to week.

You have to ask a couple of honest questions though. Would Scotland have beaten Samoa in 30-odd degrees in Apia? Possibly, but if ever Samoans, despite the fact that many of them play in Europe, were to be presented with hostile weather then this was the weekend for that.

No heat-retaining space suits for them before kick off.

Tougher tests lie in wait in the Six Nations. France and Ireland look to have improved, Wales tested the All Blacks, and though England lost to New Zealand and South Africa, we haven't won at Twickenham since 1983.

It was pleasing to see a back, in the shape of Nikki Walker, himself born in Aberdeen, romping in for the first Scottish try in the November series from set-piece, but I am sure that Robinson, and his attack coaches, want to see more tries from loose play too.

But, as I left for the train, it was a sense of a job well done by the team, and by Aberdeen Football Club, who have hosted the rugby lads twice recently and provided an excellent environment for the game.

Now the real stuff begins just after Christmas. I can't wait.


  • Comment number 1.

    Another good article John.

    I've just had a wee peek at the world rankings and see Scotland have dropped to 7th behind France in 6th and Ireland in 5th, it's all very tight there with England in 4th.

    I mention this as I want to discuss Scotland's chances of going into the world cup as one of the top 5 teams in the world? Perhaps even 4th in the rankings behind the big 3?

    Scotland have become a very tough team to beat which I think may tell in our home matches for the coming six nations. The away games could prove very difficult indeed.

  • Comment number 2.


    A great comment and talking point again - thanks.

    I'd like to discuss - having just watched your interview on the Rugby homepage - your assumption, perhaps rightly so, that Robinson will be poached from Scotland.

    I have no doubt that the successes and improvements shown by the team can and should be attributed to Andy. He's shrewd, demanding and it seems he knows exactly how to motivate and drive the lads on for competition within the squad. His knowledge is second to none. I think he's a superlative coach, a great communicator (perhaps historically not with the press but he's got a good rapport with the Scottish media and Jim Mason anyway), he gets results and he's straight talking. I like him and I hope we keep him.

    I hope so because beyond the 2011 World Cup, that's what Scottish Rugby needs; a steady hand for more than a season or two; a building improvement that can be sustained and help grow the sport from club rugby up, and the best way to do that - the easiest way - is through the national team winning at the highest level.

    I'm 28 and I want to start playing again! In fact, I've just sought out the Glasgow Touch Rugby team to apply to play...

    I digress.

    I think Robinson will be offered a new contract by the SRU. I also think he'll be offered lucrative deals elsewhere. But I think he'll stay. I hope he'll stay.

    He's got a solid unit of guys who want to play for him. He's got credibility. He's winning games. And perhaps, most importantly, he's loyal; his reputation was shot after England but he came to Scotland, built Edinburgh, the Scotland A's and now Scotland's 1st XV. He's liked, appreciated and he's making a genuine difference to the game. Sure, he'll never make millions of pounds but he's in charge of a side where - unlike Wales, England or a Southern Hemisphere side - expectation isn't an issue, and he can focus on coaching and strategy.

    Where he is and what he's doing now: he's good for Scottish Rugby, British Rugby and World Rugby, if that all doesn't sound too touchy feely and overzealous.

    I think the 6 Nations title is in our sights, and perhaps a semi-final spot in the World Cup too.

    Mr Robinson, if you read this, please stay.


  • Comment number 3.

    John my boy - I fully expect you to be "unable to comment" but I just saw the highlights of the game on IPlayer and I must say that I do prefer your commentary to the current crop of microphone monkeys out there.

    Don't get me wrong - I think that Mr Cotter is the next best.

    However, your more laid back approach gets my vote - it sounded like you were lolling around your living room with a beer. Fine stuff.

  • Comment number 4.

    Andy Robinson will coach the Lions because Scotland physically overwhelmed South Africa and sneaked a win against Samoa? Such a comment smacks of typical knee-jerkism.

    Scotland have improved under Robinson, but they've also lost at home to Argentina and been utterly routed by New Zealand. Further, the back line couldn't buy a try.

    Whilst England and Ireland have been concentrating on a 15 man game based on support play and off-loading, Scotland are reliant on their pack and the boot of Dan Parks. Of all the home nations the Scottish brand of play is by far the most one-dimensional and obvious.

  • Comment number 5.

    Post Script: I also don't think Robinson will leave Scotland after the 2011 World Cup because it's a work in progress; it's his project, success and his 'baby'.

    Nathan Hines in a nappy doesn't bare thinking about though.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am sorry but you can predict Scotland's game plan week to week, but in the right circumstances its very very effective

  • Comment number 7.

    I agree with Dave. Particularly the Nathan Hines comment. Its refreshing to hear optimism among scottish support for once.
    Its true, luck was needed at the end but, as was the case with Edinburgh under Andy Robinson, wins breed confidence and with that comes luck. You start to win by narrow margins instead of losing by narrow margins.
    It wasn't luck that had Southwell show calm and composure in ushering the ball into the dead ball area, it wasn't luck that got Scotland into the attacking position that forced the penalty in the dying moments and it wasn't luck that made Ruaridh Jackson kick his goal. It was confidence, which more than any other factor is what Andy Robinson gives this team.

  • Comment number 8.


    Andy Robinson may be well be involved with the Lions but not on the back of what he is doing for Scotland. the scot's game plan is so mind numbingly boring i hope to god that it is never transfered to the Lions. Scottish rugby may well be on the up but for you to even compete 3 things need to happen: Scotland be at their best, the opposition be at their worst and for rainforest type downpours for 80 minutes. i'm sorry but you can not escape that. the one chance scotland had to stand up and be counted for was against NZ and what happened....they got their backsides handed to them.

    i don't want to come appear as if i'm scot bashing because i do actually want them to do well so we have a more enjoyable 6 nations tournament. But watching Scotland is often painful and I never look forward to watching them play. John, how many teams can you say that about now? not many.

    on top of all this i think we all agree good players make good teams. From 1 to 15 scotland are not on a par with any top team. As for the coach, well you could have Jesus Christ coaching the backline and it still wouldn't get people interested.

    John a question for you; how many scotland players do you think are genuinely world class?

    and I LOVE how you scots justify the game plan..."we play a tight game and put pressure on the opposition". Hahaha. Come on let's be honest from now on..."we pass from side to side and get nowehere so we then kick it" is alot closer to the truth!

    excuse the spelling and grammer, on a bumpy train hungover.

  • Comment number 9.

    I wish i was as optimistic as you John. The reality is not much has changed. Okay we beat the Springboks but that was achieved through dogged-ness and forward muscle on the day. What i view as progress is when a Scottish team actually starts scoring tries again. Seriously. the win over Samoa was desparate and i think it also goes to show how one dimensional Scotland are. Why can't we run in tries against the likes of Samoa? Sure I'm looking forward to the new 2011 season with the WC.. but i just wish we could be more enterprising. I believe the other home nations always respect us in the forwards- but when was the last time they feared a Scottish centre or winger??

  • Comment number 10.

    Benjamin, to see young Scottish players offloading and scoring good tries against decent opposition you should have been at Edinburgh Northampton. We lost the match which suggests it is a work in progress. For 45 minutes it was exhilarating.

  • Comment number 11.

    jgd39 makes a fair point, but I too am delighted that Robinson has justified the Scots'faith in him, after his treatment at the hands of England. There's a great hue and cry about at the moment to the effect that the result against South African is all down to their coach, but I think Scotland can take credit for intelligent analysis of their weaknesses and making them play badly. It's a bit of a dying art in this age of professionalism, I think, but it used to be an important tactical option. The Irish were past-masters but appear to have lost the knack altogether.

    And the Scots can take credit for playing with a good deal more bottle than they exhibited against New Zealand. That is promising.

  • Comment number 12.


    I have seen Glasgow and Edinburgh on numerous occasions this season, and have been impressed. However, the fact remains that the Scottish Test style is different to how the regions play.

    Scotland does have some very good young players, and some very good older players too, but what value is that when it doesn't translate higher up on the food chain? Whoever is in charge of the Scottish attacking strategy is not getting the best out of the players available.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks once again for the insightful article Mr Beattie. I always enjoy your pieces. I've been amused by the comments too, particularly those that are more negative about Scotland style of play. I do wonder if any of these people have played any sport at a serious level (I was an international standard coxswain once it became clear that I was never going to be big enough to make it on the wing) and understand what Robinson is doing. It seems clear to me that he is trying to build the winning mentality that is so important in sport. That it what, ultimately, defines success from failure in any sport. The knowledge that "we're going to win". It gets talked about nebulously in the press but it is the single most important skill to have.

    And Robinson clearly understands the stages that you have to go through to get there. He's recognised that if we're hard to beat then that sows the seeds of doubt in the opposition and the seeds of success in Scotland. Frequently, I've seen Scotland come out after half time and fold as if they were surprised to be in contention and didn't know what to do next. Now, we seem to be able to close out a game. Once Scotland understand how to stay in a game (unlike against NZ where they were simply brilliant) up to 60 minutes we can understand how to win it. And at this stage it isn't pretty but once we get to that level then there will be sufficient confidence to take more risks and the backs will really take off. It's a mentality thing and Scotland's game will evolve. You only have to look at Wales to see the flip side. Lovely ability to move the ball around but no confidence so they continue to lose games the could win (Australia and SA). They've lost the mentality.

    So frankly, I don't care about the game plan appearing to be limited or predictable. We're now hard to beat and I believe that in time the squad will flourish and play a more expansive game but it will be defined by our ability to win games and mental capacity to do it.

  • Comment number 14.

    Interesting comments from everyone.
    The main thing for Scotland just now is the WIN!
    I prefer to see a "poor" game with a win nowdays, than a poor game lost like the last ten years.
    Anyway, as Robinson said, consistency is the next step (like the France though).
    Still a long way to go though, the game between Wales and NZ was far more exciting than Scotland V Samoa.
    I can't wait the 6N, so open and impredictable.
    I did not have the chance and time to watch England, but after this autumn even if the results were not great for them, Ireland and Wales produced a brilliant rugby when the played the All Blacks!

    I hope Robinson is going to finish his job with a Grand Slam, and it would be the perfect start by beating France away like in 1999.

  • Comment number 15.

    David K - you seem awfully fond of asking questions.

    Here's one for you - how many international teams in the past year have beaten Ireland, Argentina, Australia and the Bokke? This might help you - England is not one of them.

    Perhaps it's more your problem with the style being effective, rather than with the style itself. Of course Scotland fans want to see more scores, but whilst we're waiting to blood a more talented three quarter line, we'd rather have the confidence boost that comes with the wins.

    Are you honestly suggesting that a team shouldn't play to its strengths?

  • Comment number 16.

    Being half scot and half English I can celebrate twice. Scotlands misfortune at the beginning of the series was playing the AB's first. I doubt they would have had the same hammering.And while the playing style hasn't improved vastly yet, you can see the mental toughness of the Scottish camp has vastly improved, and credit must go to Robinson for essentially dragging Scottish Rugby back from the brink. And long may it last, I can't wait for the six nations and maybe just maybe a European World Cup Winner.

  • Comment number 17.

    David K - Why say you don't want to appear to be 'Scot bashing' that seems to be what you love to do.

    Any fan would love to see there team play beautifully and also win, but would anyone seriously say that that they would prefer to play well than win? Building a winning mentality is vitaly important, especially for us Scots who had become all too used to seeing our team fight valiantly and lose.

    It was fantastic going to the game last Saturday with thousands of other Scots who had a belief we would win and actually being rewarded with a win! Andy Robinson is a great coach for Scotland, slowly and quietly building a winning team. If we can maintain a winning culture around Scottish rugby then maybe in the future we can strive to play beautifully as well, but surely for now the focus must remain on winning and building pride and confidence.

    On a side note, I would like to say how nice it was to see the Scotland players and coaching staff out after the game and how glad I am that top class rugby players and coaches have not developed the massive egos seen in other sports.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with jgd39 wholeheartedly.
    Lack of tries are and will be the undoing of this side. It's all very well to drop a goal as Parks did against Samoa when our attacks fail (as they often do), but that tactic will not get us very far in the world cup.
    Many previous contributors on this blog allude to the "progress" that this side is alledgedly making under the present coach, and the ability to grind out results. "The tries will come", seems to be the hopeful mantra. I fear they will not, because the try habit is not there.
    I am no stats man, but in the last 10 Six Nations, Scotland have scored 6.8 tries per championship, while the victors have averaged 18.3.
    Our average position is 4.6th out of 6!!!!! A lack of tries doom ANY side to mediocre ranking (and boy, are we mediocre most of the time).
    Grinding out a victory has it's merits, but surely a national side cannot rely on such a tactic game after game?
    The pack can apparently hold it's own, but let's be honest, there isn't much else to shout about.
    The game against Samoa should have been the ideal time to cross the line a few times, but yet again, we seemed to choke.
    The only good sign is that Wales and Ireland seem to be struggling, so my Six Nation's forecast for Scotland in 2011 is.........3rd.

  • Comment number 19.


    Did you watch the best team in the world last night?

    Barcalona, with 9 players from their accadamy playing, they ripped Real Madrid apart.. they are on another level. And with all the clubs in Spain playing a similar style the Spanish team has the biggest embarrasment of riches in sport presently. Spain and Barca look set to dominate for the next decade, until the other teams catch up.

    Was there ever a bigger advert for grass roots investment?

    What do you think:

    Can the Barca model be copied across sport? ie rugby.

    Can a Scottish rugby accadamy/model be as succesful/possible?

    If we want to be the best team in the world, then waiting for the stars to align themselves so we have a crop of good players arriving on the scene at the same time to create a good team once every 20 years, isnt progress.

    I want to see Scotland win the World Cup.

    Can you ever see that happening?

    If so, then how do we make it happen?

    If not, then why not?


  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ok since my last post was deemed not appropriate for this site I will rephrase. If Andy Robinson is asked to be the Lions Coach I along with the rest of the rugby world will be very suprised. He just would not be up to that standerd I'm afraid, he is doing well for wee Scotland in fairness this alright for you moderater ?

  • Comment number 22.

    I think those citing 'playing to our strengths' miss the point. Whilst it is all well and good that Scotland have ground out some results, it has been emphatically proved time and time again that a limited game plan is only effective during the World Cup, and even then teams need that extra ability to vary their play.

    Scottish fans can be rightly proud of the victories over Ireland, Argentina and SA, but realistically nothing has changed over the past two seasons. Scotland are limited and obvious, therefore claims of Andy Robinson for the Lions are stunningly optimistic. Scotland simply aren't on the same tactical wavelength of the majority of top Test nations, which I suspect will be seriously problematic during the 6N.

    In any case, Scotland played very well against SA three seasons ago. There is no great mystery as to why, however. Both sides are set-piece teams with big kickers at 10 and 15, and a big ball runner at 12. Argentina are also a set-piece side. It's an achievement to beat these sides, but the long-term prospect of consistent success doesn't appear too strong on that basis.

    More significantly, a few months ago we had Mr Beattie vociferously proclaiming how Robinson had Scotland playing 'progressive' rugby which clearly isn't the case.

  • Comment number 23.

    i belive the scots knee jerk reation to there AIs is getting them carried away,ok they beat the second string SA,with 6 kicks,and left it to the dieing seconds to snatch a win,against samoa,but the true metal of how far they have come will materialize in the 6NTs when i belive all the teams will be fronting up with fully fit squads,then we will be able to say,yes they have climbed out of the bottom of the hole they have been in for the past decade,i hope we see a scots team that can handle the presure of a winners tag..

  • Comment number 24.

    great article John thanks. I think the Scott's are a vastly improved team this season.....come on the scotts

  • Comment number 25.

    Evening John,

    I have to admit I am not really sure I agree that Morrison is playing some fantastic rugby, Ansbro for me has been our most dangerous looking back when he has actually gotten the ball but Morrison seemed unable to provide any decent opportunities for him to show what he can do. Obviously it's not all down to Morrison but all he seems to do is make a few yards when he gets the ball (along with one good break), he is a solid player and reliable but you'd never see him being the key to unlock an opposition defence. Walker and Lamont seem absolutely determined that the last place they want to be is on their wings, both are big guys who want to run into traffic rather than trust their colleagues to release some space for them to work with.

    When the AI fixtures and venues were announced my heart was in my mouth, Samoa famous for being one of the most physically intimidating teams on one of the smallest pitches imaginable for a rugby international, I wouldn't use it as an excuse for the performance as a whole but trying to rip holes in a decent defence on a pitch that small is always going to be difficult. Living in Aberdeen I was delighted to see rugby on my doorstep but it's genuinely not a place to take on a decent team and expect a fantastic spectacle.

    I will be totally honest with you, a number of years ago I was stressing the point that we couldn't rely on our pack to win penalties for Chris Patterson to kick over, as far as I can see we made some progress under Robinson to begin with and now we are finding ourselves using the same game plan we did during the Frank Hadden era.

    On another note, how did you find Malmaison? Was beside you in the check in but didn't want to bother you!

  • Comment number 26.

    haha I am sorry but this blog is not only slightly bias which is fair enough, but is also a load of rubbish. I am sorry but andy robinson for lions coach as he has won a few games!?? you have to be kidding me. Scotland are a bit like england in the way they only win games when there backs are against the wall. The scottish game is boring and predictable. Just look at the try stats. They have scored the least tries. was it only one? I would be slightly worried about that! So if dan parks was to get injured what would happen? they only just beat samoa with last kick of game!! not disrespecting samoa as i expected them to thrash scotland

    Fair play to scotland for winning games but to call for andy robinson to be lions coach? No thanks... I think we all seem to be forgetting a time when robinson was head coach for england... for him to be head coach he will at least need to prove himself more, by all means , win the six nations and have a good world cup. But until then, you must be dreaming.

  • Comment number 27.

    Benjamin - glad you put this comment in:

    "proved time and time again that a limited game plan is only effective during the World Cup"...

    so because England did it during a World Cup they deserve the plaudits, and yet Scotland, the smallest team in the 6 nations by playing numbers, aren't allowed to play this way outside of a world cup??

    I love the game of rugby, it just disappoints me that there are so many one-eyed people out there.

    Does it really matter how a team wins as long as though do? If England had beaten South Africa on Saturday by the same margin and in the same manner, would they have been wronged in the same way? Of course not, they'd have been praised from the rooftops for beating the world champions!!!

    As for your "England play 15 man rugby" comment, don't make me laugh. Did you watch the Samoa game???

  • Comment number 28.

    Just watched 'Grand Slam 90', was off my feet when Stanger scored, really great show. Well played Mr Beattie, a rare piece of quality television from BBC scotland.

  • Comment number 29.

    keithcspencer (13) seems to talk sense about the need to know how to win.

    We are able to close out games better now. At the South Africa game in the dying moments someone near me was complaining that we were getting slow ball from the rucks - thank goodness we were. It was a moment of totally controlled play, where we knew the best place for the ball - in our possesion. The crowd then counted down the last 10 seconds, so fortunately most in Murrayfield were understanding of the position.

    Also to Craigus2002 (27) - Totally agree. What would England have given to have beaten South Africa, by any score?

    I was slightly surprised when Robinson took Ansbro off. Everyone I know and many on this blog were waiting to see the Ansbro/Evans combination in the centre. Morrison did have quite a good day, but because he can't give a pass to release the outside centre, Evans/Ansbro/Anyone doesn't stand a chance.

    Looking forward (as every year) to Six Nations. Hopefully Al Kellock will be fully fit, as well as Johnnie B Junior (he is quite good - ah I remember his Dad playing...).

    Must do some work now...

  • Comment number 30.

    Watch both Edinburgh and Glasgow, when on form and the conditions allow they play a brand of attacking and offloading rugby based around the back row that is typically Scottish, and stylistically very similar to Edinburgh under Andy Robinson. Is everyone forgetting that we played one game in a downpour and the other in subzero conditions? I can only hope that this autumn test series is used as the basis for opposition's video research, as I think Scotland will look to play a lot differently in the spring...

  • Comment number 31.


    I recall you stating in your commentary during Dan Parks's first penalty in the samoa game that he doesnt practice kicking. I couldnt believe this! is it really true? surely at international level, you cant leave things like that down to the game?

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 My first thought when I heard that and he missed a kick was "perhaps if he practised then he would be better at it"

    I think it was Lee Trevino (but I could be wrong) who said in response to a question about how lucky he had been in winning all these majors

    "The more I practise, the luckier I get."

  • Comment number 33.

    #23, please read the 1st sentence of 1st proper paragraph of #29, and #30

    We are far from getting "carried away". We recognise that we have got better at this game over the last 13 or 14 months and we also recognise that we have some way yet to go.

    Did you not listen to Andy Robinson when he voiced his concerns looking back at the last 3 games? Effectively, he said that we can perform well but we are seriously lacking in consistency. In other words, catch us on an off-day and you will probably hammer us.

    Had somebody offered me 2 wins from 3 in the Autumn Internationals before they started, I'd have taken it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry, but we have been (as most of the more positive Jocks among us have said) "rebuilding" for 20 years! How long does rebuilding take for goodness sake? The last 10 years have been woeful for Scottish fans. An average 6 Nations placing of 4.6th, scoring a third of the tries that the winners achieve. Mmmmm....progress? I see nothing new apart from the names on the team sheet.
    We CAN defend, we CAN kick penalties or drop goals, (are we Argentina in disguise?),but after that-not a lot. The winners of any tournament score more tries than the rest, so that's put paid (yet again) to us, because this side CANNOT cross the try line with confidence. I believe we will struggle to get 3rd in the 6 Nations in 2011 and to move on from the group stage in the World Cup.

  • Comment number 35.

    David K-

    World Class Scottish Players

    Chris Cusiter, Mike Blair, John Barclay, Nathan Hines and Ross Ford.

    (Richie Gray, like Courtney Lawes, has real potential to become a world class player)

    I personally feel that these five players are all genuinely world class.

    In terms of gameplan under Robinson, Scotland are looking to play a more attacking brand of rugby. However conditions haven't helped in the last few matches. Against the Boks the conditions dictated what Scotland had to do but even then they did try to play positive rugby in the opposition half. The same happened in Argentina and even then Scotland did have their chances in both matches to score tries.
    As was shown against Wales, Ireland and Argentina when it works it is very effective but the real problem is that final pass or cutting edge. Too often there is hesitancy or a lack of accuracy at the crucial point (Sean Lamont's forward pass to Kelly Brown against Wales-probably would have won the match from there).
    Robinson is taking this side in the right direction but for the team's sake I hope he is given as long as possible to build something as the talent coming through for Scotland at the moment is very exciting and they could be an even tougher side by 2015 if they are given enough time to grow.
    I think you will find that proper Scottish rugby fans aren't going over the top about the AI's. We are delighted for sure but there is cautious optimism as we know the Six Nations are the real test this season for this Scottish side and will hopefully put them in good stead for what will be a difficult World Cup campaign.

  • Comment number 36.

    The words world class are used willy nilly these days. World class means that there is one player for each position in a world fifteen.

    "Chris Cusiter, Mike Blair, John Barclay, Nathan Hines and Ross Ford.

    I personally feel that these five players are all genuinely world class"

    Are you really saying that in a World's best 15 Scotland would have 5 in the team. No doubt thay are all very good players, but please, light on the hyperbole.

  • Comment number 37.


    'so because England did it during a World Cup they deserve the plaudits, and yet Scotland, the smallest team in the 6 nations by playing numbers, aren't allowed to play this way outside of a world cup??'

    The jingoistic inference is yours. The comment I made speaks for itself - a limited game plan is not successful outside of the World Cup period. That is a simple, and accurate, observation, so I'm not sure what you're getting at?

    'I love the game of rugby, it just disappoints me that there are so many one-eyed people out there.'

    Again, you miss the point, and by doing so become one of the 'one-eyed people' you would seek to criticise. If you had actually read what I have written then you might have noticed the following comments:

    'Scotland have improved under Robinson'
    'I have seen Glasgow and Edinburgh on numerous occasions this season, and have been impressed.'
    'Scottish fans can be rightly proud of the victories over Ireland, Argentina and SA'

    Clearly I'm not indulging in hyperbolic slanging of Scottish rugby. I am pointing out that IMO Scottish rugby has talent, but that talent is not being adequately utilised by such an obvious game plan.

    'Does it really matter how a team wins as long as though do? If England had beaten South Africa on Saturday by the same margin and in the same manner, would they have been wronged in the same way? Of course not, they'd have been praised from the rooftops for beating the world champions!!!'

    Again, you totally miss the point, preferring to indulge in emotive tub thumping.

    'As for your "England play 15 man rugby" comment, don't make me laugh. Did you watch the Samoa game???'

    I did. Did you? From what I recall the England side purposefully elected to avoid kicking for goal, instead keeping the ball alive. This is borne out in the statistics - 5 fewer kicks in open play than Samoa, 14 off-loads, 117 runs etc. The game only slowed down due to the Samoan intensity at the breakdown, not English tactics.

  • Comment number 38.

    Mr. Robinson is no doubt a decent enough coach, but - to put it mildly - not such a talented selector (recall the occasion when he led a certain Six Nations team to a home defeat against Argentina at Twickenham with a back row consisting of a natural number 6, a natural number 7, and a natural number 8: the no. 6 played at 7, the 7 played at 8 and the 8 at 6. That takes some doing. Selection problems are less of an issue in Scotland due to the smaller player base, which means that Mr. Robinson has far fewer chances to get things totally wrong. Having Mr. Robinson in overall charge of the Lions would probably be a disaster (who was Sir CW's right-hand man in NZ in 2005?)

  • Comment number 39.

    I think Andy Robison is doing a good job with Scotland . However I do not think anyone should get carried away . As for the Lions I hope he dose not get asked ,for selfish reasons as it may become a distraction

  • Comment number 40.


    England may not be playing the most fluent rugby possible but there's no doubt the backs are more involved. Just look at the stats.

    If we compare the games against the same opposition in the AIs, the stats show that Scotland made a total 600 odd metres with ball in hand in their matches. England made over 1500. This is even excluding the Australia game as Scotland didn't play them.

    I'm pretty sure if you delve deeper in the stats, you probably find out that two of England's backs (Foden and Cueto) made roughly the same amount of metres in those three matches as the entire Scottish team in their matches.

    The intent was certainly there but the execution was somewhat lacking.

    That said, i'm very pleased for Scotland with their recent results. They beaten some tough teams in some gritty matches and that's a great achievement.

  • Comment number 41.

    When I watch my national rugby team, I am reminded of Butch Wilkins when he played soccer for Chelsea and England. Didn't give possession away too often, but could only pass and move sideways-the easy option.

    For sale:
    One half of a ruby pitch (The opposition's half) hardly trodden on and with a try line intact.

  • Comment number 42.

    If Scotland have a good six nations and world cup Robinson being asked to coach a Lions tour to Aus would greatly increase. This I think would be disaster for Scotland. It would mean another Lions year where top Scottish players sit at home whilst we get all watery eyed over the Union flag waving side show. Lions should tours should be populated with Welsh, England and Irish... We Scotland should use this time to tour SA or NZ.
    Lions Rugby does nothing for the Scottish game whatsover.

  • Comment number 43.

    England are playing a more attractive brand than Scotland that much is for sure... but England are still a considerable distance away from beating NZ. Scotland have the pack to shut England out of the game, but are not capable of dishing out a thumping, where as if England click then they could very well hammer Scotland at Twickers.
    Scottish Rugby Union DO NOT NEED the distration of a Lions tour in two years time. The SRU should be looking to what's good for Scottish Rugby and losing a handful of our best players and coach to another money spinning Lions tour is not the way forward.
    The way forward is to take full squad on tour to NZ or SA and play midweek games... in NZ fit in a test againt one or two of the Pacific Island Nations.

  • Comment number 44.

    JB thanks for the post - a good one.
    Post 2 dave a great post - thank you.

    Scottish rugby confuses me - Every season for a long time know I have looked at our pre six nations form thinking 'this year'... but come May it all seems a bit of a let down.

    HOWEVER, (caps only to add emphasis) since Andy robinson has taken over I really think we have started to be the best we can be. We have always relied on great coach to get the best of a couple of international class players, a team ethic and a supporting cast of guys that step up to the plate. For a while I think we really got blinded by the glitz ofprofessionalism and SH coaches but now its looking good, solid, real. A job being well done. I know its not fashionable but here's an honest bloke doing an honest job - give him a 10 year contract to build a proper house - the grass is not greener... Once you have a fit it never is.

    that said, given the torrid time that Findley Calder used to give Andy Robinson at line outs I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at team management meetings...


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