Irish Eyes a Smiling, Scottish Eyes a Bleeding…

“And now the end is near…”

I ain’t no Las Vegas crooner, able to sweet talk the ladies and the local Mob in equal measure, but just like Ol’ Blue Eyes even I can see that the end is near for Frank Hadden.  After another frustrating afternoon at “Fortress” (more like a soggy cardboard box crumbling under the elements) Murrayfield the pressure on Frank Hadden has risen to such a level that even Frank himself has noted that his time may well be up.

Saturday was the typical game of two halves.  Scotland dominated the first half, should have been a lot further in front and gave hope that we had an idea of what we were actually trying to do.  The second half…..aaaaargh!  What a stinker.  Lineout fell to pieces, holes large enough to drive a fleet of tanks through appeared in the defence (the fact it was the bastard love child of Mini-Me and an Oompa Loompa that capitalised, made it look even worse) and we had all the penetration of Pele before he started advertising Viagra.  We were never more than a converted try behind, yet never looked like getting anything out the game and that makes me want to weep for Scottish Rugby.  Whatever was said at half time should never, ever, be uttered again because it had the effect of killing all the momentum and enthusiasm that had been built up in a good first half display.  I could go on and on about different aspects of the game but others elsewhere have written far more erudite and accurate analysis than I can…and it just makes me angry!

As for Ireland, well fair play on keeping on track for the much elusive Grand Slam.  They came to a ground they traditionally struggle on and got the win they needed.  If they do win in Wales and get the Grand Slam I ask only one favour… that no bugger buys me the commemorative DVD for Xmas – it’ll be a horror show.  The game against England made my eyes bleed and to be honest the BBC should be given a kicking for putting that game on before the watershed… the children, for the love of God would someone please think of the children!  The Scotland game was only a fraction better.  Fair play the France game was good.  If, and it’s still a big IF, they do win the Grand Slam Ireland deserve all the plaudits but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they will have been one of the poorest Grand Slam winning teams in living memory.

As for Scotland, well we look towards trying to get a first win in 26 years on English soil.  Of course, life being what it is, the toffs across the Border have seemingly stopped trying to play with 14 or 13 men and as a result find the 15 man game a damn site easier!  Beyond that who knows.  I think Hadden will go, he may even do the decent thing and fall upon his own sword.  Cast your mind back 4 years and think of the walking Satan in charge of Scotland at that time… he that shalt not be named (but is the coach of  Ulster) and should be burned the next time he places his over-inflated sense of worth back on Scottish soil… and you’ll remember just how bad Scotland were at that time.  Hadden at least came in, settled the ship and looking at the squad at least there appears to be some talent within the ranks.  However, he (Hadden) has taken this team as far as he can and the challenge of taking the raw ability and turning it into a polished end product should be passed on to a new head coach.  Just who that new head coach should be is the big unknown, but maybe the SRU should show some ambition for once… this is a Scotland side with the raw talents to be a winning side, maybe a coach with ambition and steel will be able to actually get the end product right?

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Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

6 comments on “Irish Eyes a Smiling, Scottish Eyes a Bleeding…

  1. Rory on

    For the likes of Jake White or Eddie Jones looking for a challenge, would there be any bigger challenge than changing decent players into a good team capable of challenging in 2011? pity Eddie Jones just signed a 5 year deal in Japan.

  2. Duncan on

    For all the uncharitable thoughts I’ve had towards him, I did feel a bit sorry for Hadden watching his post-match interview – he does seem to be a decent person even if out of his depth, and the people really to blame for that second half performance were the players.

    Watching the game again, I couldn’t help noticing that as well as the lineouts the thing that really killed us in the second half was bad kicking – any time we got the ball we just gave it straight back with lots of aimless, medium length kicks with no chasing that gave the Irish the ball in acres of space and under no pressure.

    Also I think the lack of an experienced backs coach is hurting us – there was very little imagination or good support running even when we were on top in the first half. Hopefully Toony will come good sometime, but I don’t think the Scotland job is where he should be doing his learning.

  3. Rory on

    Intriguing quote from Tom Croft: “Johnno can be a scary man sometimes when you walk back in the dressing room so the best thing is to play well and get a win and stay on the right side of him.” Who are the Scotland players scared of?

    Think you are right about the kicking Duncan, especially the quality of the restarts. A contestable restart goes a long way to getting straight back into the game after a score. Ireland put us under pressure at the restart and we cough up a quick penalty for them. We on the other hand kick it nice and deep so they gather it safely and rumble on…

  4. Al on

    Duncan – couldn’t agree more about the players. One of Haddens faults is that he can be too protective of the players. At the end of the day we can pick fault with a lot of Haddens decisions but if the players continue to under perform then there is not much he can do. In this day and age players should be able to do the basics, they do it most weeks at club level, but in the international arena too many players hide. The side lacks any leadership and even the best coach would struggle to lead from the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong, I think Hadden is done. He’s simply had too many chances to show he can move things forward but with little success – indeed the team is now at a risk of starting to go backwards. We should thank Hadden for sorting out the mess that Wil…Willli….Willlia…..IT left, wish him well for the future and get a new man in. Do it now when any new man has a full year to prepare for the 6 Nations next year and 2 1/2 years to prepare for the World Cup. Leave it any longer and the national team will continue to be a mess.

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