Author: Alan Dymock

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.

RWC Build-Up: Al For One, One For All

With rugby, as with all competitive sport, you see players have to deal with setbacks. Sometimes these setbacks can define a player’s career. Sometimes, just sometimes though, a player can define his career by using those setbacks as opportunities.

The key is setting goals and being realistic about what you can, and importantly, need to achieve.

So when Dundonian Alasdair Dickinson told me “The shoulder’s OK so far!” I couldn’t help but feel a little relief for him.

RWC Build-Up: Team for Italy, Omissions For New Zealand

Just when I thought I had figured out the Axis of Anticipated that is Robinson and Townsend they go and mix things up! Here is the Scotland team to face the Italians at Murrayfield on Saturday, 5pm:

15  Rory Lamont (Toulon) 24 caps

14  Max Evans (Castres) 19 caps
13  Nick De Luca (Edinburgh) 25 caps
12  Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 29 caps
11  Simon Danielli (Ulster) 27 caps

10  Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues) 61 caps
9  Mike Blair (Edinburgh) VICE-CAPTAIN 71 caps

1  Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks) 20 caps
2  Scott Lawson (Gloucester) 27 caps
3  Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 14 caps
4  Nathan Hines (Clermont Ferrand) 72 caps
5  Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) CAPTAIN 33 caps
6  Kelly Brown (Saracens) 45 caps
8  Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) 11 caps
7  John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps

Substitutes

16  Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 35 caps
17  Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons) 38 caps
18  Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
19  Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) 7 caps
20  Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 52 caps
21  Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps
22  Nikki Walker (Ospreys) 23 caps

RWC Build-Up: Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Men

Despite the Scottish cessation of activity at the weekend there was still plenty of rugby being played. We saw Australia show how antiquated South Africa’s rugby may have become in just a few short years. We saw Wales expose England’s lack of skills throughout an entire XV. We saw the French recline and accept gifts from Ireland.

Watching these games will be invaluable to Scotland because they framed some obtrusive issues that many in sport -particularly in England- have danced around. These issues give us cause, not only to look at our future opponents, but to assess ourselves as well.

Make or Break at Firhill

Some press releases can be taken out of a clichéd handbook. “This preseason is the best we’ve ever had/we’re the fittest we’ve ever been/the new signings have created a real buzz around the place!”

Starting his 5th season as Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Sean Lineen has heard and said these several times. Now, though, he must know that he has this season, and this season alone, to try and turn things around after last term’s near disastrous plummet to the foot of the Magners League.

RWC Build-Up: Longing For Los Pumas

I don’t think I would like to play cards with Andy Robinson.

Sure, when we see the glass box on TV, filled with what looks like all the shiny-headed men in Scottish rugby, it always appears like Robinson is losing the plot. Probably about a breakdown.

Behind the eyes, though, I see cool calculation. I bet he’s the gambler who only plays when he has the hand.

RWC Build-Up: Our Neighbours Prepare

Some things in life are hard to predict.

 Insurance was invented because of this. Sports gambling is so exciting because of this. Being French is only comprehensible when you accept this and throw conventional thinking out of the window. Indeed nothing is harder to predict than French rugby.

So when I decided I was going to assess the preparation of our 6 Nations rivals I had to get the perplexing Gallic questions out of the way first. I had to consider the preposterous and the perplexing.

 I needed help.

RWC Build-Up: Looking At The Game, And Only The Game

At the moment I am beset on all sides with the reality, the spin coming out of Murrayfield and probably some early onset moaning from supposed experts. I have purposely not read any newspapers this morning, but I have watched the game again, re-read some stuff that went out live during the game and have endeavoured to see most of the official comments. So let’s look at the coverage of Scotland 10-6 Ireland.

RWC Build-up: Selecting The ‘Home’ Nations

When I was much younger I remember being excited by watching the Scotland team play with its ‘exotic’ stars. I knew very little about the politics or any assumed insult to purists. All I knew was that the ‘Kilted Kiwis’ had a cool nickname and they all seemed to be that little bit sui generis.