Robinson proud of beaten Scots
October 1, 2011
Dan Parks shows his anguish following Scotland's defeat to England © Getty Images
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson expressed pride in his team's Rugby World Cup performance despite the 16-12 defeat to England in Auckland which is likely to result in early elimination from the tournament.
It was a familiar story for Scotland and Robinson as six days after the agonising late loss to Argentina, England wing Chris Ashton touched down in the corner after Scotland had dominated much of the game.
Scotland had to settle for a losing bonus point, which may be enough to advance to the last eight from Pool B if Georgia can beat Argentina in Palmerston North tomorrow and deny the Pumas a bonus point.
Robinson, though, appears resigned to his side becoming the first Scotland team to fail to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. He said: "I feel extremely proud of a way a team has gone about and tested a very good opposition.
"I didn't see us winning today being an upset. I thought we were the better team. This was for me a 50-50 game today. Everybody is absolutely gut-wrenched about losing a game of rugby. "Scotland's players have got to take massive pride, the whole 30, about the way they carried themselves in this tournament. I couldn't have asked any more from them today, except for obviously scoring more points than the opposition - and we got so close to doing it."
Robinson anticipates Argentina will now join England in advancing to the last eight, although former Scotland boss Richie Dixon's Georgia could yet have a say. Robinson added: "We'll be supporting Georgia tomorrow. You saw the Tonga result today (beating France).
"The Tonga result obviously is a big upset and we hope that Richie Dixon is able to speak in Scottish to the Georgians and bring something out of them. Georgia have done really well. But Argentina have got some class. They showed that last week in the try they scored against us."
For the second straight Test Robinson rued a lapse in concentration that was punished. After taking a 12-3 lead through Chris Paterson's penalty, Scotland failed to reclaim the restart and Jonny Wilkinson kicked a drop goal which cut England's deficit.
"How can it happen again? It's something we've got to be really ruthless about. It shouldn't (happen)," Robinson added. "You can't relieve the pressure in that way so quickly.
"We had to win that restart. We didn't. I felt, when you look at the game at the end there, that's when they got on the front foot, from that restart. It's small margins."
Wilkinson cut the deficit to three points with his second penalty and with an eight-point margin required to deny England a bonus point, Scotland had to go for broke.
A high ball was launched into the air in a bid to create and capitalise on havoc in the England defence. But the gamble did not pay off as England ran the ball back at Scotland, leading to Ashton's match-winning score.
Robinson added: "We had a play that we said we wanted to use, which was the bomb on the posts. With four minutes to go we've gone out and gone for the play. It's about getting people around the ball to pick up the spills. England got it and got away with the game."
Robinson was England forwards coach when Wilkinson kicked the winning drop goal in the 2003 World Cup and Martin Johnson, now the England manager, lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy.
The former Bath, England and British and Irish Lions flanker congratulated Johnson on the victory. Robinson added: "I said 'well done'. These guys have come through two tough games and won them. And they've kept their heads. They were under huge pressure today, created by a Scotland team playing well.
"And they found a way to win a game of rugby. That's what it's about and ultimately that's what we've got to be able to learn. These games are cut and thrust. It's about the inches."
Robinson believes his side, who will now watch Georgia's match with Argentina in the hope of an upset, are close to delivering, despite all the promise being so far unfulfilled.
Robinson, who is under contract with the Scottish Rugby Union until December 2015, added: "I think the ambition's there to play. Sometimes there's playing in the right areas of the pitch and understanding how to do that.
"It's getting all 15 players able to work together and it's coming, but it's going to take a little bit more time. Everybody's going to be hugely upset, particularly if you're supporting Scotland, about what's happened.
"We've got to be able to understand that, learn the lessons about what we're trying to do and still improve the way we're playing the game, which is ball in hand. We're working hard to develop that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship