Options to ponder for Robinson ahead of South Pacific clashes

Andy Robinson - Courtesy of SRU/PA

Andy Robinson has been left with a number of selection headaches ahead of next weekend’s match with Fiji, and the subsequent clash with the Samoans.

Robinson’s charges performed heroically in the historic victory against the Wallabies, Scotland’s first Down Under in 30 years, but the former England head coach may still consider changes for next weekend’s match with Fiji.

He now has the try-scoring machine Tim Visser available to make his test debut, but including the Dutch-born winger would seem unfair on Joe Ansbro and Tom Brown, who stood up admirably in Newcastle, despite the atrocious weather conditions.

However, it has seemed inevitable that Visser will be involved to make his international bow, with Brown’s place most under threat, as Max Evans has also joined the squad this week.

A rib injury to Sean Lamont has kept the Scarlets man out of training since the Newcastle deluge, but the experienced back is likely to be available for selection, giving Robinson a full compliment to select from.

Chris Cusiter’s livewire cameo from the replacements bench may make Robinson think about a change at scrum-half, but veteran Mike Blair is likely to retain his starting berth, with Cusiter again on the bench.

In the pack, there is likely to be less change, with either Geoff Cross or Moray Low to come in for the injured Jon Welsh on the bench, while only injury would rule out Perpignan-bound Al Strokosch in the back-row, particularly given the East Kilbride man’s devastating defensive performance against Australia.

Regardless of those selected, and there are sure to be minimal changes from the win over the Wallabies, it is vital to build on Tuesday’s victory, and remain unbeaten going into what is a particularly tough Autumn schedule.

11 responses to this article

  1. ali smith said:

    this scotland team is probably the best i have seen in a long time, good set of backs to attack off a much improved scrum from 6n. this is my starting team:
    1) Grant
    2) Ford (needs to work on his lineout play)
    3) Murray
    4) Ryder
    5) Gray
    6) Strokosch
    7) Rennie
    8) Barclay

    9) Blair
    10) LaidLaw (must be pushing for captain)
    11) visser
    12) Scott
    13) Evans
    14) Ansbro
    15) Hogg

  2. Dicko said:

    My line up would be.
    1)Grant
    2)Ford
    3)Cross(better work rate in the loose than Murray)
    4)Kellock
    5)Gray(obviously)
    6)Strokosch
    7)Rennie(sensational at the breakdown and the loose for scotland)
    8)Vernon(would like to see his pace exploited on the hard surfaces in fiji)
    9)Blair(better reader of the game than cuister imo)
    10)Laidlaw
    11)Visser
    12)Scott
    13)Ansbro(would like to see a partnership develop between those two)
    14)Brown
    15)Hogg
    We finally have a pacy creative back three to be excited about, providing our forwards give us quick and clean ball against the fijians I can see us scoring a number of tries……hopefully

  3. John said:

    In terms of captain material, has anyone considered Richie Gray? His place is pretty well assured, he’s perhaps a very favoured lion candidate, he has had a colleague at the Warriors (Al Kellock) who would be a great skipper mentor, I remember one of his really early caps when he was bossing the line outs. I know he is young but his age/cap record is similar to that of Sam Warburton.

    Worth a consideration?

  4. Rory Baldwin said:

    I think realistically the only real questions are who he’ll play at 8 and on the wings. I and most others here would love to see Scott/Ansbro on a dry pitch but I think Robbo will stick with NDL. Out wide Ansbro did enough to earn another go to partner Visser but probably depends on fitness of him/Lamont or Evans.

    I think he’ll go with:

    Grant, Ford, Murray, Gray, Kellock, Strokosch, Rennie, Barclay; Blair, Laidlaw, Visser, Scott, De Luca, Ansbro, Hogg
    Replacements: Low, Lawson, Ryder, Vernon, Cusiter, Weir, Evans

  5. Duncan said:

    Now that ansbro’s out…who goes on the wing? Promote evans then whom on the bench? I’d like to see Grove get the nudge…

  6. ali smith said:

    i’d rather see Evan’s come into the center with brown on the wing. grove should get a chance at some point in the game.

  7. Cammy Ritchie said:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t really rate Evans?

    I don’t feel he’s ever done that much in a Scotland strip a barely plays for his club. I’d much rather see Grove get a game there. He’s been excellent for his club. Very sharp and an excellent defender.

  8. MJW said:

    I’m not Evans’s biggest fan either, Cammy. On the wing, I think he’s a good broken field runner and can provide a little bit of invention to get us over the try line.

    But, as an outside centre I think he’s poor. He crabs across the field way too much, looking for an outside break. If the defence is half decent that doesn’t happen, which just bunches up the space for backs outside him. His distribution is also pretty poor. If Ansbro and Lamont are both injured I’d play Visser on one wing, Brown on the other and Evans on the bench.

  9. Rory Baldwin said:

    If Ansbro is out I would think he’ll swap out for Evans, keep NDL at 13 to provide Visser with some familiarity inside and leave Tom Brown on the bench as cover.

  10. Gavin Harper said:

    I think Ansbro (if fit) will get another go on the wing, Sean Lamont may drop to the bench to allow Visser to come in. Not long to wait now, team announcement is at 6.30pm tonight!

  11. ali smith said:

    i disagree. i feel Evans has not going the pure speed to play on the wing,however possess’s a good step and chip seen it so many times.