Paterson to take on fly-half role?

Scotland coach Frank Hadden has refused to rule out the possibility that Chris Paterson may be deployed as a fly-half at some point in the future.

The Scotland captain first rose to prominence as an exciting play-maker for Gala in the late 1990s, but soon after turning professional in 1999 he started to be used primarily as an outside back – and the vast majority of his 70 caps have been either on the wing or at full-back.

However, the 28-year-old has played fly-half for Scotland on a number of occasions, most notably against Fiji and Australia during the 2003 World Cup, and through most of Scotland’s ill-fated 2004 Six Nations campaign.

Paterson started Saturday’s match against England on the left-wing, but he was also the nominated cover for the fly-half berth and when Dan Parks was replaced in the 69th minute he looked fairly comfortable slotting in as first receiver – prompting renewed speculation about whether the long-term future of the most talented all-rounder in the Scottish backline is as a number 10.

“Everybody is aware of how valuable a player Chris is to us and one of the reasons for that is the flexibility, which I like,” said Hadden.

“We’d like Gordon Ross to be playing regularly in Castres, though he isn’t, and we have two serious contenders here in Scotland, but it’s still really handy to have Chris up our sleeve.

“It’s hard to get players to change the way they play during a game, so having different players available to ask different questions is a very important part of our strategy.

“You wouldn’t know how seriously I’ve thought about Chris [at fly-half] in the past.

“There was a time when we didn’t have any wingers in Scottish rugby and to play the game I wanted to play we needed guys who could run.

“We have a glut of wingers now and that maybe doesn’t put the same pressure on Chris to play there.

“Maybe that opens the door for him to go and play somewhere else, but you’ll just have to wait and see. We also have Simon Webster, who is a flexible player, and Rory Lamont, and these guys are worth their weight in gold.”

365 Digital

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