Scots eye final flourish
March 16, 2012
Prop Allan Jacobsen reflects on his side's defeat to Ireland last weekend © Getty Images
Scotland are determined to add some much-needed gloss to a disappointing Six Nations campaign against Italy on Saturday and ensure a winning send-off for departing coaches Gregor Townsend and Graham Steadman.
Scotland are seeking to avoid a seventh straight loss for the first time since 1998 with victory in the wooden spoon decider at the Stadio Olimpico before a coaching overhaul at the Scottish Rugby Union.
Loosehead prop Allan Jacobsen said: "We always owe the coaches a performance, because they're picking you. But the fact there are guys leaving, we want to win - we don't want those guys going out on the end of a losing streak. They deserve more. They've put a lot into this team and they deserve the best from us."
Head coach Andy Robinson could join the departing duo in leaving Murrayfield, having so far declined to answer direct questions over his future, stating only that he is under contract until the 2015 World Cup. While only Robinson knows his intentions for certain - and the prospect of a return to Bath has long been muted - the overhaul indicates he will be staying at Murrayfield.
Defence coach Steadman has been replaced by Matt Taylor, currently in the same role at Queensland Reds, while Scott Johnson has been appointed senior assistant coach, with attack coach Townsend moving into the head coach's role at Glasgow Warriors and incumbent Sean Lineen shifting into a newly-created scouting role with the SRU.
The conjecture over the future of Robinson is not something that has crossed Jacobsen's mind. The 33-year-old said: "I'm not concerned about that. As far as I know he's coach until the next World Cup. I've never thought about that. We're just talking about what we're going to do on Saturday."
Scotland require just a third win in Rome since Italy joined the tournament in 2000 to avoid finishing bottom of the Six Nations. Five members of the current squad have tasted victory in the Eternal City, during the most recent win in 2006. Among them is replacement lock Alastair Kellock.
Kellock said: "Gregor and Steady have been brilliant for Scotland. As individuals as a team we've improved massively under them, so we need to go out and do something special for them. We've got to go over to Italy and be at our absolute best. It's a tough place to go. But we've won over there in the past and we've got to take confidence from that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton