Robinson wary of Romania and Georgia
August 12, 2011
Scotland boss Andy Robinson will be looking for a good start to his World Cup campaign © PA Photos
Scotland boss Andy Robinson admits his side will be taking each fixture as it comes ahead of the forthcoming World Cup.
After a disappointing Six Nations campaign, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson described the World Cup fixtures with Romania and Georgia as "potential banana skins." Almost six months on, Robinson maintains that belief, but also is optimistic about his squad's chances in Pool B, where Argentina and England also lie in wait.
Robinson, whose Scotland side begin their campaign against Romania in Invercargill on September 10, said: "I'm an optimist. We're here to win every game. I have belief that Scotland can win against any team we play against - if we play at our very best. "But we have to be at our very best every time we play."
Robinson has now been in charge of Scotland for two years and his record backs up his point. The former Bath and England flanker has overseen wins over defending world champions South Africa, Australia and two over Argentina on South American soil, earning Scotland's first southern hemisphere series success.
Scotland, though, have recorded just two Six Nations wins in 10 attempts under his leadership and converting pressure into points is a failing which remains, despite it being a problem which long predates Robinson's appointment. Recognising flaws in Scotland's game, Robinson was keen to make changes, introducing a more expansive game plan which is seeing steady improvement.
"As coaches and players you're looking at how you can improve, and we're always looking to get better," he added. "What is key for us is that we are able to peak when we play Romania or Georgia and that's where our focus is, to get a starting XV really able to deliver in those games."
Robinson is deliberately focusing on the first two Pool B fixtures, rather than the Wellington contest with Argentina - Scotland's quarter-final conquerors in 2007 - and the Auckland battle with auld enemy England. His tentative approach is one garnered from experience.
Robinson was England assistant coach to Clive Woodward in 2003, when Martin Johnson lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy after Jonny Wilkinson landed 'that' kick. The step-by-step approach was one utilised eight years ago and Robinson insists Scotland must adopt the strategy if they are to be one of two teams to progress from Pool B in New Zealand.
"You've just got to keep focusing on the next game and your own side," he said. "That will be something we will be doing - we will be focusing on what we're about."
Robinson earlier this year extended his contract as Scotland head coach until December 2015 - another World Cup cycle. Although he did not feature as a player in the tournament, restricted to eight caps in a seven-year England career, Robinson's affection for the competition is undimmed.
He added: "It's a great tournament and a tournament you look forward to every game you play.There will be many challenges on the journey. England were favourites in that tournament (2003), but even the favourites come under pressure.
"It's how you come through those pressure moments and whether you are able to keep your nerve. New Zealand have been touted as the best side in the world for a number of years, but they have been knocked off by the French one year and the Australians the tournament before that.
"That's something that will happen - there will be many surprises in a World Cup." Robinson will hope his Scotland team can create some of those surprises, rather than be the victim of them by slipping up against Romania or Georgia.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont