“And now the end is near…”
I ain’t no Las Vegas crooner, able to sweet talk the ladies and the local Mob in equal measure, but just like Ol’ Blue Eyes even I can see that the end is near for Frank Hadden. After another frustrating afternoon at “Fortress” (more like a soggy cardboard box crumbling under the elements) Murrayfield the pressure on Frank Hadden has risen to such a level that even Frank himself has noted that his time may well be up.
Saturday was the typical game of two halves. Scotland dominated the first half, should have been a lot further in front and gave hope that we had an idea of what we were actually trying to do. The second half…..aaaaargh! What a stinker. Lineout fell to pieces, holes large enough to drive a fleet of tanks through appeared in the defence (the fact it was the bastard love child of Mini-Me and an Oompa Loompa that capitalised, made it look even worse) and we had all the penetration of Pele before he started advertising Viagra. We were never more than a converted try behind, yet never looked like getting anything out the game and that makes me want to weep for Scottish Rugby. Whatever was said at half time should never, ever, be uttered again because it had the effect of killing all the momentum and enthusiasm that had been built up in a good first half display. I could go on and on about different aspects of the game but others elsewhere have written far more erudite and accurate analysis than I can…and it just makes me angry!
As for Ireland, well fair play on keeping on track for the much elusive Grand Slam. They came to a ground they traditionally struggle on and got the win they needed. If they do win in Wales and get the Grand Slam I ask only one favour… that no bugger buys me the commemorative DVD for Xmas – it’ll be a horror show. The game against England made my eyes bleed and to be honest the BBC should be given a kicking for putting that game on before the watershed… the children, for the love of God would someone please think of the children! The Scotland game was only a fraction better. Fair play the France game was good. If, and it’s still a big IF, they do win the Grand Slam Ireland deserve all the plaudits but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they will have been one of the poorest Grand Slam winning teams in living memory.
As for Scotland, well we look towards trying to get a first win in 26 years on English soil. Of course, life being what it is, the toffs across the Border have seemingly stopped trying to play with 14 or 13 men and as a result find the 15 man game a damn site easier! Beyond that who knows. I think Hadden will go, he may even do the decent thing and fall upon his own sword. Cast your mind back 4 years and think of the walking Satan in charge of Scotland at that time… he that shalt not be named (but is the coach of Ulster) and should be burned the next time he places his over-inflated sense of worth back on Scottish soil… and you’ll remember just how bad Scotland were at that time. Hadden at least came in, settled the ship and looking at the squad at least there appears to be some talent within the ranks. However, he (Hadden) has taken this team as far as he can and the challenge of taking the raw ability and turning it into a polished end product should be passed on to a new head coach. Just who that new head coach should be is the big unknown, but maybe the SRU should show some ambition for once… this is a Scotland side with the raw talents to be a winning side, maybe a coach with ambition and steel will be able to actually get the end product right?