Scotland has not been the easiest team to watch over the course of this competition. They came into it with such hope and promise: they were the favourites to win against England at Murrayfield all those weeks ago, after all. And yet they ended with the ignominious defeat at the hands of the Italians, with most of the team appearing to have given up before the match had even started.
The past few weeks have highlighted Scotland’s inability to fully capitalise on their opportunities. Match stats from the games against England, Wales, France, and Ireland show that Scotland spent more minutes in possession, or more minutes in the opposition half or both, and yet they were unable to convert this dominance into much needed points.
I doubt that the sudden departure of Dan Parks helped the team’s situation; it thrust Greig Laidlaw into the starting stand off jersey. Laidlaw has done exceptionally well given that he is not naturally a fly half, but the Scottish game was not controlled and there was disjointed communication between the forwards and the backs.
Ruaridh Jackson returned to the squad but without enough game time under his belt to stamp his authority and cement his place. It also raised the question of why Andy Robinson did not play Duncan Weir, who had proven his merit with Glasgow and Scotland A.
Going forward to the summer tests there is much to be addressed, including the captaincy and possibly even the coach. Scotland needs a vocal and forceful leader on the field, something they did not have consistently with Ross Ford, and I feel that the pressures of the captaincy ultimately affected his level of performance.
The Scottish public may also be losing patience with Andy Robinson, who has a contract until the next Rugby World Cup, but may not be around for their summer tour. He has talked a good game over the last few years, without delivering consistent results or performances, and perhaps they’d benefit from a change of personnel at the top.
On a brighter note, Stuart Hogg, Lee Jones and David Denton all came to national and international attention for their promising performances, whilst Richie Gray and Ross Rennie continue to improve. Despite being comfortably the worst side in the tournament, the number of potential Lions tourists may even have increased.
How did you rate Scotland in this tournament? Should Andy Robinson be sacked?