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Wanted: Scotland Captain 2011

Under Andy “Build A Score” Robinson Scotland have improved. Split hairs if you want, but things are certainly looking better than they did only three years ago. Even the most pessimistic of supporters (i.e. any Scotsman) has to admit that.

Pressure, then, is steadily mounting for the 6N and the World Cup this summer.

The true signifier of how far we’ve come will be if we finish well in that 6N, win more than we lose in that championship and if we achieve all of our goals in the World Cup – namely qualifying from our group and get to the quarter finals. A mammoth set of tasks. However, they are entirely doable.

Scotland have the head coach and the facilities to prepare well for a major World event, but there is one thing we need to sort beforehand: which player will lead us?

As it stands, the role of skipper has been held by no fewer than 4 players since last season’s 6N. Those players were Blair, Cusiter, Kellock and Lawson and right now it is unclear which of them would get the nod for this vital stretch. Make no mistake, the captain for the World Cup should be the captain in the 6N. There cannot be shared responsibility because players need to be focussed purely on playing, without giving them – or taking away from them – the captaincy at any moment.

So let’s look at the candidates.

Blair is out of form. The Edinburgh fans can see this, and many suggest Laidlaw should be Edinburgh’s first choice 9, right now. Maybe he should have moved to Ulster when he had the chance- a fresh start maybe could have seen him recover his form that shortlisted him for ‘World Player of the Year’ a while back. He is a quality player, but he isn’t playing well enough to start for Scotland, let alone lead them.

Unfortunately, though, Cusiter is a more likely to be adding colour commentary than playing, Lawson doesn’t seem to be guaranteed a start and Kellock has to win his place back after missing a lot of international action (although he is probably the best candidate).

There are, though, other candidates from Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond.

From Edinburgh: Their captain Roddy Grant isn’t even a regular squad member so is a looooooong shot. As much as the fans want it, Chunk is not a captain. Paterson isn’t likely to start, let alone lead.

From Glasgow: Barclay is arguably our best player, and has captained most teams he has played for in his life, but is he perhaps a little green for the international stage? If Rob Harley captained we’d probably win the 6N, the World Cup and the Eurovision Song Contest…

From ‘Abroad’: Kelly Brown revels in being a support act and is probably too shy, anyway, and no one can even keep a straight face and suggest Parks is in the frame…

So there we are: pick a skipper for February and see him through to the end of the NZ odyssey. Simple enough, right?

Who the hell do we pick?!

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4 Responses

  1. Strangely enough this blog was founded over a discussion about Dan Parks for captain. Al never got round to the article though sadly… my vote would be for Barclay or Kellock but of the two Barclay may be the only one guaranteed a place at the moment…

  2. Kellock up to and including the world cup but its got to be John Barclay after that. Barring injury he’s going to be a fixture for the foreseeable future and he’s the kind of guy Scotland could build a team around.

  3. I think the way Rennie is improving post world cup barclay may not be nailed on. What about Fordy?

  4. Good article this. If Scotland want a leader who can lead by example, the obvious candidates are Kellock, Barclay and Richie Gray (not in order). Kellock works his socks off in every aspect of the game and although he is not a ball carrier in the way Martin Johnson was at times, people shut up and listen to him. He is an intelligent skipper but lacks the ability to be inspiring to younger players perhaps.
    Barclay is the obvious candidate. He is a player that goes about his business very subtly for a 7 which is quite unique. A player who would give his left nut for his country. My only worry is that he is not a great skipper. Throughout age grade rugby he did captain all his team yes, but memory reminds the captaincy was taken off him and given to Traynor (tool) so he could concentrate solely on his playing responsibilities. Is it worth risking the loss of form from out best player?
    Richie Gray – another player who will no doubt be in the boiler house for Scotland for the rest of his career. A truly world class athlete in the lineout and the loose. Aggression, no fear, skill and pace are all attributes this young lad possesses and he has real potential to lead from the front. But would players like Chunk and Barclay listen to a lad who is up and coming? In other matter, he has received 3 yellows out of 4 games in recent weeks (not all legitimate). Not ideal for an up and coming player but i suppose he will learn from them….hopefully!

    Keep the interesting reads coming lads, and, also, ROB HARLEY has to be involved in 6 nations squad and given a chance from the bench AT LEAST. The boy can be world class too.

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