BBC BLOGS - John Beattie

Archives for June 2012

Are Scotland smart to spell out grand ambitions?

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John Beattie | 21:19 UK time, Friday, 29 June 2012

I am going to give you my target for Scottish rugby at the end of this and I want you to answer the question: what should a target for the game in your country be?

I got a press release through from the SRU. I read it at my desk. Colleagues gathered round. Am I wrong to have a slightly jaded feeling about a strategic plan that says the chief executive Mark Dodson "will unveil ambitious targets of securing a Six Nations Grand Slam by 2016 and winning the World Cup"?

My guess is that the banks had rather silly economic outlook forecasts, all coming from impressively-suited and highly paid individuals, just before the financial crash too and I believe that forecasting anything in this world is a very dangerous business.

Surely forecasts have to be SMART? That means Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

If I am honest, I have a problem with the Attainable bit. And the Relevant bit.

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Summer wins demonstrate growing Scottish confidence

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John Beattie | 13:01 UK time, Saturday, 16 June 2012

What's the significance of these two wins against Australia and Fiji by Scotland? Isn't it about time we Scots, as a country, kicked off the natural "minnow" status we have and tried to have more confidence.

Isn't confidence the key?

We grow up believing that other sides are bigger, or stronger, or come from bigger rugby countries, and I have used all of those as an argument to explain losing in the past.

But it was Finlay Calder who once said: "Ultimately, it's 15 on 15 so playing depth is irrelevant."

And there is a point to that. Every time Scottish rugby players mingle with opponents it's agreed that our players work the hardest in training when compared to any country.

And yet inside every Scottish rugby player there is a gnawing, teasing, tangible a lack of belief. It's natural. We don't win that often.

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Soaked Scotland sock it to Australia

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John Beattie | 14:12 UK time, Tuesday, 5 June 2012

What did you think of Scotland's win over Australia, then? I was impressed. A victory over the number two side in the world.

My favourite tweet read something like: "Skippy, Madge Bishop, Hugh Jackman, the barman in the pub, your boys took a hell of a beating!"

Well done to the Scotland team, it's great to be part of history.

A few things caught my eye in the build-up and then during the game.

The first was the disrespect shown to the Scotland team. Our "little" team was given second-rate status by playing the game midweek and in a far-flung location.

The Scotland team won't say anything, but that will have played a part.

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Scottish players must become more streetwise

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John Beattie | 15:07 UK time, Sunday, 3 June 2012

I don't know if you agree with me, but this Scotland tour of Australia, Fiji and Samoa is hugely important.

As I write this I am filming for Sport Nation in Duns and we've just edited the rugby section of the programme for Tuesday night (7.30 pm on BBC 2 Scotland) which talks about the "project signings" that I touched on in the last blog.

My old friend and team-mate Jim Calder is the chairman of Edinburgh rugby and he talks of his hopes of competing with some of the best teams in the world by bringing in one or two good players who, after three years, will be eligible to play for us - just like Tim Visser.

It has since transpired that former Scotland stars like Doddie Weir are against it, yet in his new role at Murrayfield in charge of recruitment Sean Lineen's job description will include finding a handful of such "project signings".

For the record, I'm not against it but it has the potential to get out of control.

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