Our rugby backs must be tackled

NOW that the euphoria surrounding Scotland's triumph at Croke Park has dissipated, perhaps it is time to reflect on this year's Six Nations championship.

There is little doubt that Scotland has made progress. We have a back row which is the equal of any, a line-out which can secure good ball as well as disrupt the opposition, and a scrum which, although it occasionally creaks a little, can usually hold its own against other packs.

However, I remain totally unconvinced that our back division is capable of scoring more than just the occasional try – and this simply has to be rectified if matches are to be won at international level. Why is it not possible for our backs to deliver the cutting edge exemplified by the likes of Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls and Shane Williams?

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Dan Parks has done extraordinarily well this year, but he remains basically a kicking stand-off without the capability to set a line moving in a threatening way. I don't believe that Phil Godman or David Blair is the answer either; so we must bring on the next generation of stand-offs and make sure that they get plenty of game time for either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

If our backs aren't running the right angles, shouldn't we be asking more questions of the coaching staff? I am second to none in my admiration of what Gregor Townsend achieved as a player. However, it does concern me that he has been parachuted into coaching at the highest level without serving an apprenticeship. Maybe a year or two with a good club side or perhaps with Scotland A might have provided better preparation.

Still, thanks largely to Andy Robinson, I look forward to next season with a greater sense of optimism than I have in the past.

David Hamill, Pittenweem