Robinson : Scotland are still on track

Scotland coach Andy Robinson has insisted that his team are still on the right track even though they lost a fourth match in a row when they fell 27-13 to Wales at Murrayfield.


Individual errors in both attack and defence again cost Scotland dear, as they had during the previous week’s 13-6 home defeat by England.


Scotland now have a fortnight to prepare for the visit of World Cup finalists France, the pre-tournament favourites, to Murrayfield with questions again being asked about Robinson’s regime.


Former England flanker and coach Robinson confirmed after Sunday’s setback that Scotland defence chief Graham Steadman’s contract would not be renewed when it expires after the tournament.


Meanwhile the position of attack coach Gregor Townsend, the former Scotland international, has been called into question by the news that Australian backs guru Scott Johnson will be joining the Scottish set-up at the end of the season.


But it was hard not to have some sympathy for Robinson and his coaching staff as their plans to take on Wales at their own fast-paced running game under the closed Millennium Stadium roof were undone by basic errors.


Prop Allan Jacobsen knocked on when in sight of the Wales try-line in a first half that ended all square at 3-3.


Scotland then failed to deal with the second half kick-off and new fly-half Greig Laidlaw, who showed promise in his first Test start following the retirement of Australia-born Dan Parks, fell off a tackle as Alex Cuthbert scored Wales’s first try.


Now confronted with a resurgent Wales, roared by a crowd of more than 73,000, Scotland conceded two tries to full-back Leigh Halfpenny when a man down and indeed were briefly reduced to 13 after yellow cards for both Nick de Luca and Rory Lamont.


One crumb of comfort was that a run of four successive matches without a try came to an end in the 62nd minute when Laidlaw, nephew of Scotland great Roy, finished off a tap and go move.


But his score came too late to affect the outcome.


“For me it’s about the team being able to keep its belief in what it’s trying to do,” said Robinson. “I think that throughout there is still belief there.


“Just before half-time, there was a clear-cut opportunity for us and we just knocked it on getting close to the line and that’s what games can change on.


“We mustn’t get away from the fact the effort that’s been shown there was very, very good,” he added. “It’s important we build on that and perform that way every time.


“We have a decent side. We went toe-to-toe with Wales, who are a good team. Both sides were feeling it in that first half, both teams went at each other and it was a physical game.


“But it hinges on small moments and obviously just after half-time was crucial for us and dropping off the tackle for Cuthbert to score.”


Robinson has previously insisted he’s not interested in seeking comfort from committed but losing efforts.


However, this latest reverse left him with a Six Nations record in charge of Scotland of nine defeats in 12 matches, with just two wins and a draw.


“It’s about winning,” he said. “I’ve never shied away from that and I still won’t. That’s what we’re here for.


“I want the players to go out and perform the way they’ve done today but obviously limiting the mistakes we’ve made.”


Scotland captain Ross Ford echoed Robinson’s comments by saying: “So much hard work goes into it and just to come away with nothing is very disappointing.


“It’s time the hard work was merged together with a bit of clearer thinking and staying composed under pressure,” the hooker added. “Everybody in the squad knows that.


“The belief comes from within the squad and it is there.”

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