Six Nations: We lacked accuracy, not spirit, says Scots skipper

IN THE post-match press conference the Italian manager announced that the centre Gonzalo Canale had suffered a suspected broken wrist and that replacement halfback Tobias Botes has definitely broken his arm.

The question remains whether the Scots’ spirit has suffered the same fate.

This side have now lost their last seven Tests, stretching back to that World Cup heart-breaker against the Pumas, but even this sad statistic wilts in the face of the way that the Scots have played in the last two matches. If Dublin was disappointing, especially the second half, the players never looked fully engaged in Rome and the body language screamed defeat from the time the Italian players belted out their national anthem with their usual gusto.

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Naturally enough Robinson was quizzed as to his future.

“I’ve got a contract to 2015 and I’ll be doing a debrief of the game and a debrief of the Six Nations and I’ll be meeting with [SRU chief executive] Mark Dodson to go through that.”

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“I’m going away to reflect on the Six Nations and reflect on the future in terms of the positivity that we have and the players that we have and work at putting a plan together for the way forward,” he added later. But was the decision still in his hands?

“I am head coach of Scottish rugby, yes.”

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We know that this Scottish side lacks a little class but where was the anger, the passion, the blood, sweat and tears, the fight and the fury, all the traditional Scottish traits that have defined our game? It was not an issue, according to team captain Ross Ford.

“Obviously the boys are disappointed with the result,” said the hooker. “I think that through lack of possession in the right areas we didn’t give ourselves a chance to get into the rhythm. We did a lot of attacking from our own half and you simply can’t do that. But I think [of] the spirit in the camp, it’s a tight team, there’s no lack of effort in the team, it’s just through a lack of accuracy that we didn’t get a rhythm going. We didn’t get possession in the right areas and that was down to myself, I was below par today, we turned over too many lineouts in their 22 and it didn’t give us a rhythm to attack off and sustain pressure.”

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The lineout was faultless in the opening three matches but it has imploded since then, with two lost in Dublin and six turned over in Rome. It wasn’t the only cause of defeat but it played its part.

“The errors we made today were at the lineout,” Robinson agreed.

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“It’s unfortunate but Ross has been throwing well but he overthrew today and [if] you can’t apply the pressure on the opposition inside their third of the field against a side like Italy then you are going to be put under pressure because their scrum and lineout are good and their maul is good.

“I still felt we were in the game at 10-6 and we had opportunities but unfortunately when we got the territory our lineout broke down.”

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Indiscipline also follows this team like a stray mongrel and when asked about the two yellow cards that cost Scotland dear Robinson maintained his cool far better than he must have done when the incidents actually occurred.

“We have to have discipline in the way that we play. It’s a tough enough game with 15 men but again we put ourselves under pressure with the sin bins.”

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The only thing left was for Robinson to congratulate prop Jon Welsh on winning his first cap after getting the nod just minutes before kick off after Allan Jacobsen hurt his ankle in the warm-up. The Glasgow favourite did well and his Test debut was one of the few positives to emerge from Rome, possibly the only one.