Scots aim for scrum dominance

Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:52
Large scotland scrum

The Scottish scrum will have to produce their best performance of the Six Nations if they are to upset France.

The Scottish scrum will have to produce their best performance of the Six Nations if they are to upset France in their match at Murrayfield on Saturday, former Scottish lock Nathan Hines said.

The Scotland pack have proved the Achilles heel of the team this season, providing little ball for their backs to do something with especially against England where they were humiliated 20-0 at Murrayfield.

However, Australia-born Hines, who was capped 77 times by his adopted country, said that based on the resolute performance in their last outing - a nailbiting 21-20 win over Italy in Rome - there was some hope for Scotland and not just because of France's woeful away form which has seen them fail to win in two years since winning in Edinburgh.

"The win over Italy confirmed the impression Scotland made in their first game against Ireland [a 28-6 defeat]," said Hines, who is in his final season with French giants Clermont before moving to English club Sale.

"They did well initially and held their own but then cracked in the face of the Irish pack.

"The Scottish team have a young three-quarter line, still gaining in experience and therefore liable to be exposed.

"The biggest problems, though, are in the scrum which does not make any yardage and loses one in two line-outs.

"Scotland needs the ball so it can express itself. It will be the scrum that decides the match against France.

"If we correct this area then we can pose the French all sorts of problems."

Hines, who has previously played in France for Perpignan before joining Irish province Leinster with whom he won the 2011 European Cup, said he felt the Scots were in about the same position as the French were ahead as they prepared for the 2015 World Cup still searching for the best formula and mix of players.

However, he said while the arrival of his present club coach Vern Cotter as head coach of the Scots, replacing Scott Johnson, at the end of the season would have a positive impact, the World Cup might come too soon in terms of seeing an upturn in results.

"When you are a player, this transitional period is always complicated," said Hines.

"Certain players will have their eye on the future when the priority is to focus on what happens now.

The arrival of Vern risks turning things upside down.

"He will bring with him a rigorous approach, and ask a lot more of the players. He will force them to pose questions about themselves and what they have been doing before.

"When something is working he will tell you it is, but he will also do so when it isn't but it is important to have a coach that talks to you frankly.

"The federation did not make a mistake in hiring him.

"Maybe the World Cup will come too early for the results to be seen but I think that by the 2016 Six Nations Scotland will be a force to be reckoned with."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0