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?!