Scots seek victory for under-fire Hadden
March 16, 2009
Fullback Chris Paterson weighed in with 15 points against Ireland at Murrayfield © Getty Images
Scotland's Chris Paterson has urged his side to deliver a big performance against England this weekend that could save coach Frank Hadden's job.
Defeat to Ireland at Murrayfield last weekend mean Hadden is in real danger of failing to fulfil the minimum target of two Championship victories set by his employers at the Scottish Rugby Union. With just one victory, a 26-6 win against Italy, Hadden faces a likely make or break clash against a resurgent England at Twickenham.
Scotland have not won at England's HQ for 26 years and England look to be moving into ominous form following yesterday's demolition of France.
Paterson said, "I've never won there. I can't think I've been really close to winning there, to be honest. It's the Auld Enemy, it's a fortress and I think you'd not be a true Scotsman if it didn't get you pretty deep to go down there and do something special."
The fullback hopes the extra day of preparation Scotland have over their arch rivals will pay off. "A six-day turnaround is a big ask in international rugby, so that's in our favour," he said.
Paterson is desperate to finish the championship on a winning note both for the country and for the under-fire Hadden. "You're at the end of a block of eight weeks' work," he said.
"I'll be determined and everybody else involved will be determined to finish that block on a high and do something that's not happened for a long time in winning at Twickenham. I'm just desperate to be involved and I'll be excited to be involved to go and have a crack at them."
He added, "It's winning for Frank, it's winning for each other and it's winning for Scotland. What can you do about the game but lose sleep, think about firing into training on Monday, doing your best for Frank, for each other, for yourself and for the fans next weekend at Twickenham?"
Hadden went into the Six Nations proclaiming his current squad the best of his time in charge. Results so far suggest otherwise, with a solitary victory against Italy all Scotland have to show for their efforts.
Their first-half performance on Saturday was actually their best of the championship as they took an interval lead, but they were simply unable to cope with the ferocious intensity of the Ireland forwards after the break.
Asked if enough progress had been made since the drubbing by Wales in their tournament opener, Paterson said, "I think there has been progress made, certainly against the French and in the victory against Italy. You always want more, you always want more progress, no matter how quickly you're progressing or what you're achieving. That's what drives me on."
It is the lack of progress year on year that is of most concern. Four victories in the last 16 internationals is pretty damning, as Hadden himself conceded at the weekend, while Scotland have not won back-to-back Six Nations matches since their last championship victory over Ireland in 2001.
Paterson was recalled to the starting line-up against Ireland after controversially being relegated to the bench for the opening three matches.
He insists he took no pleasure in his personal performance, despite his five penalties maintaining his 100% Test record with the boot in 2009. "Losing's losing, and it always hurts," he added.
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