News24

Robinson expects 'cracker'

2011-02-11 19:29

Edinburgh - Scotland coach Andy Robinson is expecting a Six Nations "cracker" when his team go head-to-head with Wales at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Both teams kicked off their campaign with losses last weekend, Scotland scoring three tries in their 34-21 defeat away to France and Wales going down 26-19 at home to England.

"I'm really looking forward to the Test match. It should be an absolute cracker," said Robinson, the former England coach.

"It's two sides who want to play and play with width, that's exciting. The key for both teams is how they can get go-forward ball.

"Jamie Roberts, Ryan Jones, Bradley Davies and Matthew Rees, they're all big ball carriers for Wales.

"They've got some brilliant one-on-one runners. They've also got a number of players with a lot of Test matches but also Lions experience as well. So they can handle themselves."

Robinson denied that Wales would be weakened by Stephen Jones being replaced by James Hook at outside-half.

"If James gets the ball on the front foot, he can be the best in the world," the Scotland coach said.

Defence would also be key, he added in reference to Scotland's heart-breaking 31-24 loss to Wales during last season's Six Nations, when two late tries sealed an improbable comeback for the Dragons.

"Last year we played well for 70 minutes and the year before we were blown away physically in the first 20 minutes."

The ex-Bath stalwart also vowed that his team would cut down on errors, three turnovers against France handing Les Bleus 21 unanswered points and Scotland an unsurmountable task.

"It was a bit like watching schoolboy rugby," said Robinson, a former teacher.

"When you turn the ball over, the other team runs the length of the pitch and scores without anyone touching them. You should have been sat near me!"

One of the stand-out performers against France was 21-year-old lock Richie Gray, but Robinson said the Glasgow forward was in doubt because of a stomach bug.

"He's been isolated, and as a precaution we've drafted Edinburgh lock Scott MacLeod to our squad and he trained with us today (Friday)," he said.

"A decision will be taken on Saturday morning on Richie, and should he not play, then Nathan Hines would move into lock from blindside."

AFP