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.
With the EMC tests looming and the daily press releases telling us how our players are “harder, faster, stronger” than ever before whilst the players assure us the group has never been so tight-knit, I must ask: how will the warm up games pan out?
How would sir like his steak cooked? Restaurateurs of New Zealand take note, mine’s a medium thanks. How about you, the reader? And possibly of slightly more import, how does one like one’s Wallaby or Springbok? (You can’t use a flower in a cooking metaphor, sorry. Or for that matter an All Black)
The Scotland under-20s have already left for their World Cup in Italy. In their ranks they have Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg. They also, it must be said, go with mixed expectations.
While I was sitting thinking about whether to write about London Scottish getting promotion (congrats to all) or Chris Cusiter heading down under for some match fitness (throw another shrimp on the barbie, don’t get injured) or maybe the Sevens squad again being strengthened with pros (more non-reflective gloss on the results), Andy Robinson decided today was the day to announce his initial World Cup training squad of 40 men. So, mostly opinion free today. As expected there are few surprises (but still one or two). So here it is, hot from Murrayfield:
As Rory has chosen to focus on the backs he has left me with the slightly easier task of looking at the forwards.
The reason this is easier is because Andy Robinson has a pretty samey starting pack and, barring injury, I can’t imagine it will change too much for the first game in the World Cup. So this means the warm-up games against Ireland and Italy will help pick a bench, and the training sessions before hand are hugely important for individuals.
This may be a little premature, but I was looking at the World Cup pools the other day and a nasty question raised itself in my mind. Assuming we play well enough to get out of the group stages, is it worth considering exactly where we come (position wise) in the group? There is one team you want to avoid at all costs if you are not Aussie or France (and we are certainly not): the All Blacks. Warning: contains squiffy fan logic, hypothetical situations and a total dismissal of Argentina as a factor.