June International Tours

Lack of points concerns Hadden



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Frustrated Scotland coach Frank Hadden was left trying to answer a familiar question after his side’s 18-3 Barclays Churchill Cup defeat to the England Saxons.

How and when will a Scotland side ever find a way to translate possession into points?

Scotland A began in relatively enterprising fashion in miserable conditions at Twickenham and were certainly more direct than in Wednesday’s 13-9 win over the USA.

But, despite working some promising opportunities, the Scots could not break down the well-drilled England defence.

Scotland’s senior squad suffered similar problems during the Six Nations and Hadden is wracking his brains trying to find a solution before the World Cup.

“It is always a concern. We don’t have that history of outscoring teams on the try count. That is not our track record and it does concern me,” said Hadden.

“I am delighted we are creating more opportunities and we are spending more time in the opposition 22. Rest assured, we will spend a lot of time addressing that.

“The other day, we created enough opportunities for four or five scores and yesterday we got into a lot of good positions.”

“It was frustrating to have so much possession but not come up with the points and the guys are absolutely gutted not to have taken their chances,” added captain Donnie MacFadyen.

Hadden has already pencilled in the majority of his World Cup squad and his goal for the Churchill Cup is to nail down the remainder.

“This is like the first two games of pre-season. These two teams have never played together and we were never going to get a well-oiled machine,” the Scotland coach said.

“I would be confident that in four or five matches’ time, we could turn in improved performances. But we don’t have those matches so it is about putting these players outside their comfort zone.

“I thought there were some much more mature performances than you often see at A-team level.”

A scrappy, stop-start encounter was only ever going to be won by an odd moment of brilliance – and it fell to England full-back Nick Abendanon to conjure up two of them.

He created the Saxons’ first try for hooker David Paice and then scored the second shortly after half-time to put England 15-0 ahead and effectively secure the match.

“It wasn’t pretty rugby but we did enough to get into the final,” said Abendanon.

“Throughout the first half, we only had slow ball and I think we all realised one break would put us on the front foot and that could be the turning point.

“I was really pleased to come out of a game like that with man of the match. We all know the Churchill Cup is a chance for us to get into the World Cup training squad and then get into the World Cup squad.

“Hopefully, my contribution was enough to catch [coach] Brian Ashton’s eye. England have been having a few troubles at full-back and hopefully I have done enough to squeeze into the plans.”

The Saxons will play either Ireland A or defending champions the New Zealand Maori for the title back at Twickenham next Saturday.


365 Digital

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