RBS 6 Nations 2012 Review: Scotland

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?

9 thoughts on “RBS 6 Nations 2012 Review: Scotland

  1. I can’t see a new coach aiding Scotland at the moment. Robinson seems to be doing a good job – you can’t forget that he is limited in terms of his resources. Scotland looked pretty good in several of the matches this year, and they look close to being able to play good rugby on a consistent basis. With a few of the new young players in the squad (Hogg, Gray, Jackson), Robinson needs to be allowed to try and extract their full potential. I know they got the wooden spoon, but the only game where they were really outplayed was in Dublin (I didn’t see the Italian game).

  2. Italian non-job aside, I think the Scots are the team with the biggest discrepancy between quality of performance and results. Good luck to Edinburgh for their clash with Tolouse, I hope they can give Scottish rugby a lift.

  3. Out with Andy Robinson.

    If a new coach comes in and loses everything, then it’s par for the course.

    Scotland should look at John Kirwan. He did well with Japan, and Scotland seem to rely on the ‘low resources’ tag, so Kirwan has already produced attacking rugby with limited resources in the Japanese player pool. Couple his attitude to the Scottish pack and you just might have an effective formula.

  4. A thankless task with only two professional teams to choose from. I fear the writing is on the wall for Scottish rugby. Inevitably in the professional era some will rise and some will fall. The good news is that Andy’s successor has already been identified -step forward Scott Johnson, nemsis of grand slam winning coach Mike Ruddock. Watch your back Andy.

  5. It’s an interesting one this.

    Positives:
    Scotland pushed Wales, France and England close(ish) with gutsy performances
    Robinson blooded several young players (Denton, Hogg, Jones particularly)
    Gray is a World Class lock forward and I maintain he should be captain already
    Hogg looks exciting
    There are a few good youngsters bubbling under

    Negatives:
    Robinson stuck with Dan Parks when he should have gone to youth
    I personally think he made a bad appointment as Captain – nothing against Ford, but he lacks some leadership
    A soul-less performance in Rome
    Not giving Weir a go

    I would say, on average, Scotland performed at their World Cup level, which means no progress, but I’d accept that as a consequence of throwing in a few youngsters. As a result I wouldn’t change Robinson, as I don’t see what benefit can really come of it.

    Another year of poor performances though, and he’s doomed.

  6. I have said it at the end of every championship for a while but Scotland do have some potential, their ressults don’t refelct it.

    However, all this perpetual losing has drifted a cloud over the squads mentality, a new coach and a new captain is needed, justa reboot of the system. That doen’s meen Robinson has done a bad job it is just the situation.

    Grey for Captain,

    Scotland have a mobile backrow, Rennie, Barckly, Brown, Denton, can all move, add Grey to the picture and it is a fast pack.

    Scotland need to play a loose open game with fast backs that can interchange their position, they should go for multiphase attacks and try to exhaust the other teams heavier back lines. The problem is they don’t seem to have the belief or the handling ability to do this. A plan made and followed over the next year.

  7. Gray for Captain, Insanity guy, Has to be Brown, Remember him? Backrow Denton, Rennie/Barclay, Brown going forward.

  8. when will people stop making excuses for Robinson. He is a good number two but a terrible manager. I watch Scotland now and it reminds me of his time as England coach. Masses of possesion and territory but never looking like we’d score a try. again people used to bemoan how the players would make errors they didn’t make for their clubs etc etc. I think the most important part of being an international coach is the man managment side, getting the best out of your players. Robinson is unable to do this, despite all his technical attributes.

  9. This is the setup to win matches:

    Coach: Sean Lineen – great track record and has coached Glasgow to impressive wins.

    Squad: S Lamont, Hogg, Seymour, Murchie, Shaw, Dunbar, Ansboro, Visser, Weir, Cusiter, Pyrgos, Fusaro, Rennie, Denton, Wilson, Gray, Kellock, Ryder, Laidlaw (9), Leonard, Cairns (and Front Row)

    Out with old, in with new

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