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8 pack: Everything you need to know about Scotland

When will we see their likes again?

Is that English lad still in charge?

NO, ANDY ROBINSON has been given the shepherd’s crook.

In his place comes former Wales (among other guru-ish positions) coach Scott Johnson on an interim basis.

A bad November then?

It was. Not much to complain about a 22- 51 defeat to New Zealand or a 10-21 reversal to South Africa, but a two tries to nil, 15 -21 loss to Tonga was indefensible and he signed his resignation letter a month before Christmas.

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

They must have someone decent

They do, they continue to churn out some really talented players, particularly in the pack with Giant Richie Gray, Saracens’ Kelly Brown and last year’s breakthrough talent David Denton.

Behind the scrum, the obvious danger man is Dutch winger Tim Visser. He has been a revelation since arriving in the Pro12 and most of Scotland’s back-line moves will be formed to create a gap for him.

Suddenly, though, Scotland’s wing is doubly dangerous as they have been able to parachute Sean Maitland directly from the Canterbury Crusaders into the side on the granny rule.

Why do they keep losing, then?

Though their pack is stocked well enough to withstand an injury or two, they still lack much fire-power behind the scrum. Particularly in midfield where Matt Scott and Sean Lamont have been given the nod for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup meeting at Twickenham.

Another Glasgow Warrior, Ruaridh Jackson, will be at number 10 and after a promising year or two, he has struggled for form in the Pro12 this season.


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Any bonny auld Scots retired?

You expect players to retire at the end of a season, but not our Neighbours to the north. Their most-capped scrum-half and prop Mike Blair and Allan Jacobsen bowed out following Robinson’s departure. You may also remember that Dan Parks hung up his tartan cap just one game into last year’s Six Nations before moving on to Connacht. Chris Paterson retired from all rugby during the summer.

Craig Halkett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

So, who’s the kicker now?

Edinburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will take up the responsibility of putting points on the board. Jackson will take over if Henry Pyrgos replaces the number nine, but more likely is that Scotland will ‘do an Ulster’ and shove Laidlaw back to fly-half if they are in need of a change.

Any injury concerns?

They’ve gotten off fairly lightly this time round. Last year, Brown broke his leg just days after being named captain. This year, they’re without two scrum-halves; Chris Cusiter and Rory Lawson. Though both would have had a fight on their hands to make the bench.

Starting XV

Hogg; Maitland, Lamont, Scott, Visser; Jackson, Laidlaw: Grant, Hall, Murray; Gray, Hamilton; Strokosch, Brown, Beattie.

Read the other instalments of our team-by-team guide here>>>>

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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