Friday 31 October 2014

Scotland hope ‘kind’ World Cup draw will lead to applications

Matt McGeehan

Published 04/12/2012 | 15:49

SCOTLAND’S rugby bosses hope the 2015 World Cup draw will encourage applications for the vacancy created when Andy Robinson resigned as head coach.

After falling to 12th in the world following the autumn Test losses to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga - a result which prompted Robinson's resignation - Scotland were among the third seeds for the draw.



Scotland, though, were drawn against the Springboks and Samoa, sides they beat in November 2010, and will be optimistic of taking one of the top two places in the five-team pool - Japan and Canada are the likely other nations - and advancing to the knockout stages.



Scotland's World Cup draw may be considered favourable, but the fixtures will not be for the faint-hearted.



The schedule is still to be determined, but back-to-back matches with the Springboks and Samoa - both physical teams - would be a test of Scotland's playing resources, no matter who the head coach is.



It is understood a number of individuals with suitable attributes have expressed interest in succeeding Robinson, who stood down on November 25 after 10 losses in 13 matches.



The likes of Nick Mallett, Jake White, Todd Blackadder, Wayne Smith, Alan Tait and Bryan Redpath have been mentioned in dispatches and some could be tempted with the task of reviving Scotland's fortunes with a group of players many believe have under performed in recent times.



Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson has indicated an interim appointment is likely ahead of the RBS 6 Nations, which for Scotland begins at Twickenham against England on February 2.



All options are being considered, though, with discussions ongoing at Murrayfield.



Australian Scott Johnson, appointed senior assistant coach by Robinson, is in line for a caretaker role, if that is the favoured route, but ex-Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen, now in a talent recruitment role with the SRU, is also a possible candidate.



Given Johnson is under contract at Murrayfield and has held the head coach position before, at Wales and the United States Eagles, he appears to be the obvious candidate should an interim boss be appointed.



Johnson said in The Scotsman: "I have not had a chance to speak to the officials, but I intend to in the next week or so. That will decide where I am placed in the job and if the job suits me, and if it suits them for me to take it.



"I am secure in the fact that I have come here for a couple of years and I have only just started.



"There are plenty of good things in Scotland and plenty of hard working rugby people and there are plenty of good players. We need to start developing a game that suits us to play."



Johnson could emulate Stuart Lancaster, who was in interim charge of England in February when they claimed a narrow win at Murrayfield.



Ten months later Lancaster's side beat world champions New Zealand at Twickenham, where Scotland are the next visitors.



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