June International Tours

Hadden not underestimating USA challenge

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Scotland coach Frank Hadden is not reading too much into the USA’s 51-3 defeat at the hands of England Saxons in Friday’s Churchill Cup curtain-raiser.

Hadden, who has decided to take charge of the Scotland A team for the tournament in order to have a closer look at a number of Rugby World Cup hopefuls, was speaking after naming his team ahead of Wednesday’s match against the USA in Henley.

“England completely dominated the USA in the front five and obviously we’ll be working hard in these areas as well,” Hadden said.

“But I expect them to recover from that and they’ll be focusing very hard on making sure we don’t do the same on Wednesday – so I think we might see a different shape of game.

“I have actually been quite surprised by the standard in the tournament so far.

“This sort of rugby has a reputation for being a bit messy, but I guess when you are playing against full international sides like the USA and Canada – who are a little bit better organised than some of the A teams – then you get a reasonably high standard of contest.

“It’s our aim to try and get as organised as we possibly can on Wednesday, because I believe that if we set a decent platform then we’ve got enough talent in the team to take advantage of that.

“But if we don’t set the platform then we won’t be able to give these players the opportunity to show what they can do.”

Just as he did in last year’s tournament, when Scotland A registered a memorable victory over the Saxons on their way to reaching the final, Rory Lawson will captain the team against the USA.

But no matter how good his performance is on this occasion, he will be told straight after the match that his services are no longer required.

“Mark McMillan was initially selected in the squad, but then Ian McGeechan phoned me up to tell me that he was going to be on the bench for Wasps in Sunday’s Heineken Cup final, which effectively ruled him out of playing in this first game,” Hadden explained.

“So I phoned Rory and he was delighted to be able to step in at short notice.

“I’m sure Rory sees this as an opportunity for himself. He’s going to play in the first game, then Mark will join the squad and Rory will leave it.”

Hadden insists the game offers a chance for players to stake their claim.

“This is an opportunity for players who haven’t played before, it’s an opportunity for players who have been injured at critical times, and it’s an opportunity for players to make the management change their mind about where they are in the pecking order,” he added.

 

365 Digital

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