Hastings calls for more ambition from Scots
February 8, 2008
Former captain Gavin Hastings has urged Scotland to adopt a more adventurous approach in order to salvage their Six Nations campaign. Graham Jenkins reports
Hastings, a member of Scotland's Grand Slam-winning side in 1990, laid down the gauntlet to Frank hadden's side in the aftermath of their opening Championship defeat against France.
The Scots, quarter-finalists at last year's Rugby World Cup, were tipped for a strong showing in this year's battle for northern hemisphere supremacy - starting against a new-look French side.
However, the hosts succumbed at Murrayfield in a one-sided 26-7 result that left fans and journalists alike bewildered.
"I think they were beaten by the better side on the day quite clearly," reflected the 61-times capped fullback.
"There was a lot of optimism from a Scotland perspective going into the match that clearly did not materialise."
Hastings, who also skippered the British & Irish Lions on their tour to New Zealand in 1993, questioned the performance of the players in front of a full house at Murrayfield.
""These guys are experienced rugby players, I find it quite extraordinary that they performed like that and I'm actually quite curious as to why they played like that and why did they make so many mistakes and basic errors.
"It's just so disappointing when you go there on a wave of optimism, and the team just performs poorly.
"I just felt that perhaps we have to be a wee bit more ambitious in our tactics. We need to try and adopt a more ambitious game plan than appeared to be the case at the weekend."
"If we actually look at the way that Scotland have performed since the World Cup and during the World Cup, we didn't take much risk in the World Cup and we didn't appear to take much risk on Sunday.
"We've probably had four games now where we haven't shown an awful lot of ambition or risk and I don't believe we have performed anywhere near our ability in those games.
"What would be the downside? But I'm not on the inside, I don't know what their tactics are but I cannot believe we do not wish or desitre to go out and perform to the best of our ability, it needs somehow for Scotland to get a victory, to play well, to give us some confidence, and to get on a bit of a run - something we have not had for a while."
Expectation was high amongst Scottish fans after last year's global showpiece where the Scots bowed out to Argentina in the last eight.
And Hastings believed their performances in France quite rightly gave fans reason for hope.
"There was realistic grounds for the Scots being optimistic about their performance and again that's what made it doubly disappointing, that the team just didn't perform and never looked like they were ever going to win the game."
However Hastings remains hopeful that the Scots can turn things around in their remaining match away to Wales and Ireland, at home to Scotland and finally a trip to Italy.
"I don't think it was all bad for the Scots, players do not become bad players overnight and I don't think these players did.
"What is has done, it has heaped the pressure onto the players in a way they didn't have before Sunday's match. Now they have to try and go out and produce a fantastic performance against a resurgent Welsh side in the Millennium Stadium - that will be a tough challenge.
"It may not be beyond them and let's hope it's not."
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