'A' coach Nick Scrivener issues rallying call

FORMER Australia 'A' coach Nick Scrivener has taken over at the helm of the Scottish equivalent for this season and urged players selected for this month's game with the USA to use it as a platform to the RBS Six Nations and World Cup in 2011.

Scrivener was revealed as the new head coach yesterday along with Stevie Scott, the former Gala, Melrose and Scotland hooker who is now a specialist coach with the SRU.

They take over from Sean Lineen and Andy Robinson, who have filled the roles in recent years, and will have their first taste of 'A' action at Netherdale in Galashiels on 19 November when the USA Eagles touch down in the Borders.

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Games with Ireland A (Friday, 28 January) and Italy 'A' (Friday, 4 February) have also been lined up in an effort to give players just outside the Scotland squad the opportunity to push their claims for full international places.

Scrivener, the Edinburgh assistant coach, was Lineen's right hand man on the last occasion Scotland A played in Galashiels - the 38-7 win over Tonga a year ago - and was involved in the IRB Nations Cup in June. The former ACT Brumbies coach is excited to be taking over the head position this time around.

He said: "I'm honoured to have been given this opportunity, and I am really looking forward to the games, especially USA Eagles because it's now only a couple of weeks away.

"Myself and Stevie, and the rest of the management team, will be doing everything we can to put the players in a position to win the game: that will be our overriding focus the whole week.

"But we'll be tapping into the ability these guys have, and their desire to play for Scotland, and you only have to look at players like Alex Grove, Richie Gray and Joe Ansbro to see that if you do well at this level, you do your chances with the national team absolutely no harm at all.

"The Tonga match at Netherdale last year was a fantastic occasion to be part of; we got a really good crowd in and put on a really pleasing performance.

"I'd like to encourage as many people as possible in Gala and beyond to turn out and get behind us for what should be another memorable night."

All A and age-grade games are free to enter, with the first 'A' match coming the night before Scotland face South Africa at Murrayfield.

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Scott, who returns to his old stomping ground, added: "These games are an ideal opportunity for people in the Borders to see some outstanding talent on both sides. Everyone who came along to the Tonga match last year knows that it was the start of a great rugby weekend, with the full team beating Australia at Murrayfield the following day.

"We'll be doing everything we can to make sure we give the fans another night to remember against the USA, and I'm really looking forward to seeing players show they've got what it takes to compete and win at international level."