Robinson targets breakdown as key to win
June 4, 2012
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has picked a mobile back-row in the hope of beating Australia in Newcastle © PA Photos
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has targeted control of the breakdown as the key to his side's chances of beating Australia on Tuesday.
Robinson's team have lost their last seven matches, but beat Australia 9-8 the most recent time that they met, at Murrayfield in 2008. In the hope of emulating that result the former England boss has selected a mobile back-row of open-side flanker John Barclay starting at number 8, with Ross Rennie and Alasdair Strokosch on the flanks.
It is crucial that they stop Australia captain and open-side David Pocock from playing his usual game, one which secures a large amount of possession and turnover ball that the Wallaby backline is quick to capitalise on.
"We need to create a bit of mayhem there," Robinson said. "We have to be really accurate inside our half, accurate defensively and accurate when we have got the ball. That means not getting turned over in our half - something that we did not do well in the Six Nations, where we turned a lot of ball over when we were carrying it. If we can do that, it puts us in a good position to put pressure on Australia. We have to contest the breakdown. That is why we are playing John Barclay at number eight. We have to put Australia under huge pressure in that area, we want to have a go at them, put pressure on (scrum-half, Will) Genia and slow Australia ball down. The only way to do that was playing Barclay and Ross Rennie together, who I think are our best two players over the ball."
Loose-head prop Ryan Grant and inside-centre Matt Scott are set to make their debuts in the match in Newcastle. After impressing in the RaboDirect PRO12 Grant will have a crucial role to play in securing first-phase possession for Scotland against an Australia pack that has often proved susceptible to pressure in the scrum.
"Of course we have got to try to target their front five and get stuck into them," Robinson said. "Ryan Grant is a very good scrummager. He got his position in the Glasgow team at the end of the season because he was scrummaging so well. On their side, James Slipper is a good player, but the young lad on the tight-head (Dan Palmer) is somebody that we have got to get some change out of."
Scotland play Australia in Newcastle on Tuesday, followed by a Test against Fiji in Lautoka on June 16 and a Test against Samoa in Apia on June 23.
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