Paterson: Scotland right to aim high
July 1, 2012
Former international Chris Paterson has backed Scotland's ambitions © PA Photos
Former international Chris Paterson believes Scotland can achieve their ambitious targets of winning the Rugby World Cup and a Six Nations Grand Slam by 2016.
Those twin aims were outlined in the Scottish Rugby Union's new four-year strategic plan. And they reflect the renewed optimism with Scotland following their 100% record on their summer tour of the southern hemisphere, which included wins over Fiji, Samoa and Australia. Earlier in the season Scotland failed to reach the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and finished bottom of the Six Nations championship.
"It's an ambitious target, but I think it's good to set ambitious goals," Paterson told BBC Scotland. "International rugby is so close, so why wouldn't it be do-able?"
"We've seen Scotland win three games on tour over the last three weeks and international rugby is so close that could have been zero wins out of three," said Paterson, who retired at the end of this season's Six Nations to join the national coaching structure. "And, if you turn that on its head, in the Six Nations, Scotland won zero out of five, and certainly the first three could have been wins against England, Wales and France.
"So you could have been going into the last two games against Ireland and Italy looking for two wins for a Grand Slam. The margins are so, so fine in international rugby and, if you get the small bits right, there's no reason why you can't be successful."
Scotland are currently ranked ninth in the world, having jumped up three places thanks to their victories in the southern hemisphere. They remain outside the top-eight ranking target stipulated in the previous strategic plan, which was written in 2007.
However, SRU chief executive Mark Dodoson defended the ambitious targets, saying: "We have thought about this long and hard and it's certainly not a knee-jerk reaction from the recent wins in the southern hemisphere.
"There's no reason why we can't win a World Cup or a Six Nations. We've got some fantastic athletes working in Scottish rugby who are capable of great things. We are an ambitious union and we need to set challenging targets."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column