Monday, January 11, 2010

Scotland boss Andy Robinson wants England to be intimidated when his new team sing national anthem

High in the Murrayfield stands, a proud, patriotic Englishman sat during the Calcutta Cup rugby match between Scotland and England and marvelled at the passion of the Scots. Not just on the pitch, where the men in blue would prevail for the second successive time in Edinburgh, but also from all those in the seats around him.

He looked at the lone piper standing high on the roof of the stand, kilt swirling in the wind as his pipes bellowed. He took in the smoke from the guns that had fired on the pitch seconds before kick-off. And he absorbed the rush of nationalism that flowed from every proud Scot who had come to see the auld enemy sent packing again.

That was two years ago and, back then, Andy Robinson, the former England flanker who helped Sir Clive Woodward’s team to World Cup glory in 2003 before taking over the top job himself, would never have dreamed he would become Scotland’s head coach — with a remit to inflict another sapping defeat on his beloved England.

But that is what Robinson is planning to do in the forthcoming Six Nations’ campaign.

And, should he succeed in coaching the Scots to victory at Murrayfield on March 13, he will inflict another crushing blow on the management regime headed, ironically enough, by Martin Johnson — the colossus who captained England to the biggest prize in world rugby six years ago.

Robinson, 45 and always fiercely proud to wear the red rose of England, will not flinch from his task. He plans to use the passion he witnessed while sitting in the Murrayfield stands to achieve his goal.

The emotions of his team will be stirred from the moment they step onto the Edinburgh turf — where the Scots have won the last three Calcutta Cups played there — and line up to sing the anthem that never fails to stir every red-blooded Scot.

It is not that Robinson has suddenly turned his back on all things English. ‘I’m a fan of England rugby and I always want them to do well,’ he insists. ‘Just not in the Calcutta Cup while I’m in charge of Scotland.

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