Looking To The ‘A’ Team

Monday morning: a time to take stock.

Has your football team made that sensational transfer? Have you won a monumental Grand Slam? Are you still in charge of a whole nation?

If the answers to your bleary Monday morning questions are ‘Yes’ then congratulations: you are either a Russian Billionaire, a skilful Serb or a delusional Egyptian. You are most likely not a Scotsman.

Do not despair, though!

(now with update)

If you were part of a crack ‘A team’ that built a sizeable victory out of only Blair and Laidlaw’s boots, Fraser McKenzie’s hands and a handful of senior players then you have a lot to smile about. This result, in fact, will hold a lot more significance than you would first think. Indeed those at Murrayfield will have enjoyed this 32-12 victory with great relish.

Firstly, this result has huge significance for the full Scotland side. Andy ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ Robinson now knows that Beattie is capable of playing at least a half of international rugby without breaking down. He now knows that Low is a viable option to replace Jacobsen or Murray. He now also knows that, if the second row options in his squad break down, he could call on MacLeod first as well as maybe bringing Laidlaw into the fold after the first game. Laidlaw showed he is a good leader and can kick crucial points, from distance, at the right time.

Secondly, the head honchos at HQ now know who they should replace Moffat with if he is shown the door. Nick Scrivener is only an assistant at Edinburgh but is the head coach of the ‘A’ squad. After such a good result it is looking increasingly like this role was both a test for Scrivener and a form of preparation for him. Edinburgh’s season has been stop/start and there is increasing disquiet regarding the role performed by the Head Coach. Scrivener looks to have been a contingency plan all along, with his experience as Head Coach of Australia ‘A’s’ as a given, and he would be the cheapest viable option for the SRU.

Would this be a good appointment? He certainly has high level playing experience, with the Brumbies, and as a specialist in Defence he should surely have a grittier personality than Moffat.

It remains to be seen if this happens or not, but it will surely be in the minds of those holding the chequebook at Murrayfield. If Moffat goes amidst the reported player cull at Edinburgh, quick transition of staff would be a must. The move makes sense. Change without too much actual change (as stupid as that sounds!).

Whatever happens on the coaching side, we will have to wait and see. With regards to the possible selection of players that turned out for the ‘A’s’ on Friday, we only have to wait ‘til tomorrow. It comes up quick, doesn’t it?!

UPDATE: About an hour after A.D posted this, it was announced that Rob Moffat has been asked to stand down from his role as Edinburgh Coach, with Nick Scrivener filling in as interim head coach, pretty much as he predicts above. His kung-fu is strong indeed. You can hear Gordon Mckie’s thoughts on the matter here. It is almost certain that Rob’s poor results were the catalyst, but his somewhat bizarre views on player selection voiced in recent weeks cannot have helped… now to see if Scrivener can engineer a change half way through the season the same as the one he did halfway through the Scotland A game. Rory

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Dundonian Alan has played rugby all over the world for various teams including Dundee High School, Heriot's and the Scottish Club International. Now writing from London he covers all issues international and unreported.

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