Dougie Hall anxious to end his guilt trip under new coach

SCOTLAND hooker Dougie Hall is hoping the new faces in the camp can kick-start the national team’s fortunes and shake off his guilt over Andy Robinson’s departure.

Hall admits he struggled to deal with the emotions surrounding Robinson’s resignation in the wake of their 21-15 defeat by Tonga at Pittodrie in November. But he knows he and the team have to move on and he feels positive vibes have already been established under interim coach Scott Johnson, whose training camp in Glasgow this week was joined by ten uncapped players.

Hall said: “It certainly gives you a bit of a kick up the backside. Everything starts from a new viewpoint. You are impressing a new man up top and it’s great to have the young guys in because they always bring in a bit of a bounce and they are really excited to be here. They just remind you of how much of a privilege it is to be at a Scotland training camp.”

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The Glasgow forward did not need a reminder about the regime change when the Scotland players gathered under Johnson’s charge yesterday for the first time.

“It hit home pretty hard at the time actually,” the 32-year-old said. “It’s not the first time it has happened in my career, but it was quite sudden. We played Tonga and were obviously very down about the result and Robbo announced that he was leaving straight after it. There was an immediacy about it and also it was quite apparent that we had effectively lost him his job.

“For me personally, I can say it was a difficult thing to deal with back then. Now we really just have to focus on moving forward. That’s professional sports obviously. We have to go forward and strive to get better because we weren’t good enough in the autumn and that is effectively what cost Robbo his job.

“Nobody has ever gone out to play badly. We didn’t go out to not win one of the games. Every game we prepared well and went out to win, but it just wasn’t happening. We have to reload and go again and get it right this time.”

Hall, aiming to win his 40th cap against England on 2 February 2, relishes Johnson’s reign. He said: “He’s a great character and very good communicator and we are really looking forward to seeing how he is going to implement all of his thoughts on the game. “It’s still very new and I think it will take a while to get to understand what he and Dean Ryan want us to do as a group, but that is exciting as well.”