Jackson Is Still In, But Out For Now

The Herald is reporting that Ruaridh Jackson will not be considered for selection for the opening matches of this year’s RBS Six Nations for Scotland.

This could take Scotland’s stand-off debate back to the rivalry we thought we had all seen the last of: Phil Godman vs Dan Parks, but hopefully Andy Robinson will see sense and give the nod to Greig Laidlaw, who has stepped into the breach for Edinburgh this season after a few appearances last year, and performed beyond all expectation.

Glasgow’s Duncan Weir is also in the equation, offering more in attack than Parks but with a similarly effective boot. However, his boot can also be similarly inconsistent.

Yes, Phil Godman dropped that goal, but it has largely been Laidlaw (with a little help from Harry Leonard) whose attack minded Edinburgh came top of their Heineken Cup pool, having scored 17 tries.

In one competition; in 6 games. Compare this to pool rivals Cardiff, with Dan Parks at the helm lest we forget: 7 tries. Or Scotland since January 2010: 18 tries; over 2 Six Nations, a summer tour to Argentina, a World Cup and a 5 autumn tests (21 tests). Okay, international tests (and defences) are not quite the same as those in the Heineken Cup, but the level is not that far off these days.

Injuries are starting to force Robinson’s hand, and now the half-backs have been affected. While we wish Ruaridh all the best with his recovery, it could well turn out to be a positive, leading him to pick the young form players he may otherwise not fancy. It certainly could have this effect in the back row, where both Rob Harley and David Denton would have been very unlikely to have found themselves both in the team during the Killer B era, but now may yet both start or at least make the matchday squad. Needless to say picking Greig at 10 also allows you to pick either Blair or Cusiter at 9, both of whom have been playing very well of late.

Robinson apparently wants to build Scotland’s play around Jackson’s attacking mindset. With Jackson out until mid-tournament, Laidlaw is the next best thing in this squad.

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8 comments on “Jackson Is Still In, But Out For Now

  1. Aligator on

    I really hope you are right about an attacking mindset, built around half-backs who play that way naturally. If so then no Dan Parks, not even on the bench.
    Godman and Laidlaw would then appear to be the best substitutes until Jackson is fit and has enough on-field form. Since Laidlaw is Edinburgh’s consistent first choice here and doing well, so he should be for Scotland. Laidlaw plays heads-up rugby based on what is is front of him and knows how to get the score board moving. He also has the character to take a first CC game in his stride

  2. Jen on

    I’m really, really hoping (with a sinking feeling in my gut) that DP is nowhere near the match squad. Laidlaw has been playing well all season, and while experience counts for a lot would it really be risky putting GL at 10 and Weir as backup? It would be nice to see a real attacking backline for the first game.

  3. MJW on

    Given Parks’s form at the moment, I think it would be more risky to play him. Robinson would also lose all the feel-good feeling in Scottish rugby if he trots out the player that has tried and failed to get the team scoring tries for the last 5 or 6 years.

    Give Laidlaw a chance. We won’t suffer defensively, and we might actually score some tries!

  4. MJW on

    What kind of life would it be for a fan if he couldn’t speculate and moan.

    I think it’s worthy of discussion, as the choice will tell us a lot about how ambitious/radical AR will be with the newer members of the squad. We finally have some exciting young talent coming through the ranks, it would be a shame if we had a coach too conservative to give them a chance.

  5. InsideArm on

    MJW: hear hear! Surely Andy Robinson must give Laidlaw and the young guns a go. Our problem for years has been not scoring tries but Edinburgh are scoring them for fun with Laidlaw at ten. I also think Robinson would risk deflating the feel-good factor if he reverts to Parks and demoralise us all

  6. Glasgow_Girl on

    Agree Laidlaw should start but I think Duncan Weir deserves a place on the bench, there was so much pressure on him in the last game and I actually thought he was really good v Leinster. I think though if Laidlaw starts Parks will be on the bench because I can’t see Robinson leaving him out all together. Hope Duncan Weir does get his 1st cap during the Six Nations though

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