Confident Hadden raring to go

Coach Frank Hadden believes his Scotland team are beginning to show the sort of form which could see them exceed expectations at the Rugby World Cup in September and October.

The head coach named his 30-man squad for the tournament on Tuesday and has been greatly encouraged by the work rate of his players during training this summer, and also by their impressive showing during Saturday’s 31-21 victory over Ireland at Murrayfield.

It is all in sharp contrast to a disappointing Six Nations, in which Hadden’s injury-ravaged side slumped to four defeats out of five matches to finish bottom of the championship table.

“We just can’t wait. We knew that we were making progress in our preparation but you’re never quite sure if that is going to transfer into the game,” said Hadden.

“We think we got a bit of transfer into the game on Saturday and that gives us the confidence to believe we are going in the right direction.

“Who knows how it will all pan out in the wash, but we know we are going to be competitive. We know the competition is going to be extremely tight, there’s not going to be much in it, but we believe we’ve got a fighting chance.

“I’m not saying we’re the best side in the world, but if we can get on a bit of a roll we’re going to be very dangerous.”

Hadden went on to explain that the large number of injuries his team suffered last season – which included long term lay-offs to senior players such as Jason White, Mike Blair, Simon Webster, Craig Smith and Allister Hogg – may have actually benefited his team in the long term.

“We handed out 10 new caps in the Six Nations. If you had a five-match run at club level, you wouldn’t expect to win anything if you had to make 10 changes – that’s not how you generate success,” said the Scotland coach.

“But that was forced on us, and retrospectively we’re delighted that these guys have had the opportunity.

“I’d rather we hadn’t had so many injuries, but maybe that was a blessing in disguise because so many young guys were able to be blooded and had the opportunity to gain a little bit of experience that is going to be invaluable to them further down the line.

“We have finally got ourselves into a position where there really is competition for places in every department, and the intensity of the competition is something we were delighted with, even if it gave the selectors plenty of headaches when it came to picking a final 30-man squad for the tournament.”


365 Digital

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