Sunday 22 April 2018

Sean Lamont insists Scotland can win Six Nations

Matt McGeehan

SEAN Lamont maintains Scotland are capable of responding from the lows of the autumn by winning the RBS 6 Nations.

It is a lofty claim for a side which slipped to 12th in the world following the loss to Tonga, a result which was followed by Andy Robinson's resignation as head coach last month, and faces England at Twickenham in the Calcutta Cup on February 2 on the opening weekend of the Six Nations.

Lamont's confidence comes from inner belief and witnessing how Stuart Lancaster reformed England from a rabble into a side which ended the All Blacks' 20-Test unbeaten run earlier this month.

The 31-year-old Glasgow Warriors back told Press Association Sport: "I'd like to win it (the Six Nations). For Scotland to win it we need to be clinical in every game and flawless.

"We can do it, as we've shown against the big teams. We can all on our day be those world beaters, it's just about getting that collective spot on every game.

"But the rollercoaster ride of performances needs to go.

"We've got England first up, who will be on great form because they had a great win against New Zealand and they've got a good team together.

"A change of coach is always an uncertain time, but it doesn't mean it can't be done.

"Lancaster came in and has turned it round. It can be done."

Lancaster was in interim charge of England last February when his side won at Murrayfield and claimed four wins in the Six Nations to finish runners-up to Wales.

The Scottish Rugby Union are apparently in no rush to announce the anticipated appointment of Scott Johnson as interim head coach, as they scour the globe for a permanent successor to Robinson.

Lamont, who has 71 caps, has not yet been consulted by SRU chief executive Mark Dodson over the appointment of Robinson's successor, but believes Australian Johnson, appointed assistant to Robinson, could fill the role well.

"He's someone that knows the players, he is a good coach and it would probably be the logical step-up," Lamont added.

"But as a player, it's the powers that be that will decide that."

Lamont dismissed the suggestion the abject performance against Tonga in Aberdeen, as Scotland lost 21-15, demonstrated the players' belief in Robinson had gone.

Lamont said: "It wasn't a case of Andy lost the dressing room. It wasn't that at all.

"It was just one of those things, one of those games where we weren't there all the way.

"It cost Robbo his job in the end. He said it was a coach-killing performance.

"(But) there's no point dwelling on it too much because it can eat you up and you can't change what's happened.

"It is tough to take. You throw yourself in physically and mentally.

"It was a tough autumn because we didn't get anything and we lost to Tonga, which should never happen.

"We crossed the line three times and didn't get a score, which is criminal. That should have been at least 15 points."

Scotland wing Tim Visser felt particular disappointment at Robinson's departure, as it was the Englishman who brought the Dutchman to Edinburgh from Newcastle.

Visser, who was handed his first cap in June by Robinson after qualifying through residency, said: "It's disappointing. He's been made a scapegoat for what we produced as players.

"The results themselves are tough to take for us. We've not just let ourselves down, but a whole nation.

"I texted him when he left and just said thanks for all the opportunities you've given me.

"He replied saying he was going to keep a close eye on my career."

Lamont and Visser were speaking as Caledonia Best was unveiled as the official beer of Scottish rugby for a significant six-figure sum.

The three-year deal covers the whole of the professional game in Scotland, with the national team, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors and the Glasgow Sevens tournament included.

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