Monday, January 11, 2010

Andy Robinson hints at bright future after Frank Hadden era peters out

SCOTTISH rugby is moving into 2010 with renewed heart … but wait, we said that of 2009.

Scottish rugby was in a positive frame of mind a year ago after scrummaging New Zealand off the park and running South Africa close, so developing a pack confident it could stand tall with the best in the world. They did not win those Test matches ultimately, and that kept one foot on the ground at least, but with England and France struggling, Wales not the Grand Slammists they were and Ireland looking aged, surely it was time for Scotland to banish the blues?

The short answer was 'no, think again, Scotland'. Just as a rugby team evolves around more than merely the stand-off, but the controller wearing the No10 jersey invariably attracts most scrutiny, so the head coach is far from alone in determining how his side performs yet is the man to take the greatest flak when it all goes pear-shaped.

It comes with the position and so the sight of Frank Hadden shuffling more uncomfortably than ever with the attention and criticism began to reveal in the former Edinburgh and Scotland age-grade coach a naivety in international rugby that was to haunt him in his final months as he ran out of avenues to turn and agreed to step down in May.

In terms of results, Hadden finished with 16 wins from 41 Test matches, a success ratio of 39 percent, and with Scotland one place further down the rankings from when he took over. It was not a whole lot worse than some might have predicted of a Scotland side, but he joined Ian McGeechan and Matt Williams nonetheless in completing the worst decade of achievement by a Scotland team since international rugby began.

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