aka The Five Thingies of Journalism. We do have a round table in the house though seriously, so Al and I sat at it post Six Nations and had a chat as we lay cringing in the rubble of Scotland’s wooden spoon near miss.
What should be done?
RB:I think we need to look at a new coaching structure for Scotland. Or new personnel in the existing structure. There seems to be a lack of tactical nous coming from players we know are better than this. I think Parks – who we have both been more supportive of than some, it has to be said – needs to only be let back into the squad if he’s playing better than Paterson or Godman and the policy adopted (half way through the tournament) of picking players on form needs to be stuck to across all positions, not just number 6, where it worked particularly well.
AK: Personally I’m going to start by going back through my family heritage and try and uncover my Tongan roots! Calcutta Cup aside that was a minging tournament from a Scottish perspective. I struggle to see how Hadden can keep his role as it currently stands, as the head honcho he needs to take responsibility for the debacle and he’s been culpable in a number of areas from poor choice of tactics to baffling selections of substitutes. As the backs coach the fact that Scotland only scored 3 tries (I think) says it all. A new head coach is needed, a new coaching structure needs to be put in place and for the love of God play form players – we just can’t afford to carry passengers!
Where Next For Scotland?
RB: Argentina is the short answer. Although more interesting could be the A team’s trip to the Churchill Cup in June, with Robinson and Lineen hopefully showing the way forward. A position in the third group of seedings for the World Cup in 2011 is looking more likely unless we upset the applecart twice over the summer away from home against the Argies.
AK: I suspect a couple of thumpings for a Scotland side over in South America. You never know though. In my opinion we have the players to beat Argentina but we need to go with form. Its an opportunity to blood some new players and try a more expansive game – this means no Parks! I don’t think we are a particularly bad team, its just they really don’t – yet – know how to play with each other. Beyond that, who knows what will happen, much will depend on coaching structures.
Who Next for Scotland?
RB: Not sure, but I think Andy Robinson should be left where he is. A possible part-time Scotland job as with Shaun Edwards, Wasps and Wales may be the answer. The same could be said for Lineen at Glasgow. They are only just starting to get results and they should be allowed to build on that to create a strong and dare I say it confident professional core on which to found our national squads. I don’t know if that means get rid of Hadden or not, to be honest. Jake White would be unlikely to take the job if offered – though representing one of the few real challenges in rugby left to him(!) – , but there are a few decent coaches floating about. But please not Eddie O’ Sullivan. In terms of players, younger players such as De Luca, Rennie, Barclay, should be given their chance, sooner rather than later. France are blooding young players without regard for results and getting the results anyway. Who’s to say it wouldn’t work on a smaller scale?
AK: Erm…pass? Not a clue, I agree its probably too soon for Robinson who is, in my opinion, not an international head coach – better to use his skills as a forwards coach. Not sure if we could try and get someone like Brian Redpath involved but whether he’d leave day-to-day rugby is debatable. I think Scotland need a team of coaches rather than this head coach figure. I appreciate a team pulled together by ‘committee’ is risky but it may be our best way forward. We really need a motivator in this new coaching ‘team’ so happy to take someone who’ll strip the paint of the changing rooms at half time! At the moment I get the feeling we lack leadership, Strokosh, over time may start to take more and more on. Players wise the future is brighter than it may seem, Edinburgh and Glasgow have a decent crop of youngsters starting to come through but now, not 2 years from now, is the time to blood new players.
RB: Because the current team aren’t playing to their potential, and that needs to start happening if interest in the game is to grow and I’m to have any hair left before I turn 30.
AK: Because what we currently have is performing below what it should be. In my opinion this is the perfect time to take a risk. Nothing to lose, World Cup is 3 years away and new players can get the chance to get international experience. A new coach, a new ethos and a new spirit need to be instilled into the whole Scottish setup. The time for consolidation is really over and Scottish rugby is crying out for someone to take the bull by the horns and make some bold, and possible brave, decisions.
When should this all happen?
RB: If you’re getting rid of Hadden, it should be as soon as possible. Or if not now, then after the Churchhill Cup and Summer Tour. Disastrous results may see that happen anyway. Not making change now may reduce the summer tour to an exercise in telling us what we already know, ie that we’re not as good as Argentina with Hadden in charge. But perhaps we could be, without him.
AK: Now. That’s it really! Wholesale changes need to be made, the sooner we start the better. Not just Hadden, under-performing players need to be dropped and chances taken on players who are in form. We go to Argentina with nothing to lose so why not start from scratch? Ultimately whatever we do, whenever we do it, it can only get better…unless we take Matt Williams back!!!!!