Alan Dymock runs the rule over the Scotland World Cup squad to travel to New Zealand.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.