Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ooh for ah player like Cantona

SCOTLAND rugby coach Andy Robinson names his squad tomorrow for training at St Andrews next week in preparation for the RBS Six Nations Championship. Evening News rugby writer BILL LOTHIAN gives an insight into what makes the coach tick

ANDY ROBINSON has used footballer Eric Cantona as an example of a sportsman who symbolises the message he is trying to put across to Scotland's rugby squad.

That situation revolved around one of Scotland's least experienced players and it is Robinson's goal to have rookies and stalwarts alike backing themselves.

Also, the former England cap wants players to be regularly asking 'why?'

"Asking why is better than acting like a lemming without knowing how to improve. Lots of players take up positions without thinking. The reason is that they are comfortable there.

"It's about challenging them to get to the next step.

Scotland's defence was lauded in the Autumn and Robinson said: "With a defence that defended the way we did you can attack from deeper.

"There has been some improvement in the understanding of our attack.

"Coaching defence is a lot simpler than putting together a framework for attack. All systems for defence are similar throughout the world.

"One area that we have to develop is peripheral vision with awareness of players around as well as the ability to scan and see."

It is likely that Robinson's initial selection, which will eventually be cut to a matchday 22, will take into account the Scotland A fixture against Ireland in Dublin on Sat Mar 20, 2010

(17:00), when it is likely the selection will be heavily based on the side which thumped Tonga 38-7 at Galashiels in November.

Ireland V Scotland Hospitality

The opportunity will almost certainly be taken to integrate Euan Murray back into a dark blue jersey, the Lions prop having missed the Autumn Tests due to injury.

He will also delay any entry to the Six Nations at least until Scotland head for Wales on Saturday 13 February because the Sunday fixture against France conflicts with his religious principles.

If Scotland can get off to a winning start against it will be the first time in the Six Nations since Robinson's predecessor, Frank Hadden launched his Test career with a 20-16 win over France at Murrayfield in 2006.

Scotland V England Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

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