Scotland are a team for all terrain says coach

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 13:18

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Scotland may be getting a reputation for being an expansive running outfit but assistant coach Jason O'Halloran believes they can still mix it in the mud.

In days gone by, Scotland were known for their dour kicking-based brand of rugby that could prove effective on cold, wet and windy nights at Murrayfield in November.

They had toppled Australia in 2009 and South Africa a year later in such conditions.

But the Scotland of New Zealander Vern Cotter is one that excites and throws the ball around with confidence and expectation.

Yet O'Halloran, a former All Black international, believes they proved last week they can still toil when necessary.

"I like to think we can play in both conditions. The way we muscled up, up front against Ireland last week, suggests we could play quite alright in these type of conditions where it's wet and slippery. It puts a premium on ball security and making those hard yards around the fringe and being really physical in defence," said O'Halloran.

"I'd like to think we've got an all-court game and can play in any conditions."

There are high hopes that Sunday's Six Nations clash at the Stade de France will be a high-octane and enthralling affair, with two teams backing themselves to beat each other on merit.

But O'Halloran says France will not be quite as cavalier as they were last year, when they went to Murrayfield and lost 18-29, during coach Guy Noves's first Six Nations in charge.

"What he [Noves] has done since coming into the fold is pretty impressive. I think they were a little bit reckless with their offloading last year, but I assume he's tightened up on that and they're much more accurate in that department.

"I thought their performance against the All Blacks in the autumn [November] was outstanding and they were very unfortunate not to win that game - Beauden Barrett goes 95 metres off an intercept and I think that was a massive turning point [France lost 19-24].

"I think they dominated that game through much of it, so they're a very dangerous team."

As for the spectacle, O'Halloran is confident both teams will put on a show, aided by South African referee Jaco Peyper.

"I heard the forecast [for Sunday] is very good so we're looking forward to it. 

"Both teams showed some good attacking intent last week so I'm expecting an open game with a lot of advantage played by the referee - he likes to play that way, so I'm expecting long passages of play and opportunities for both teams."

Agence France-Presse

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