Robinson favours evolution
January 4, 2012
Andy Robinson was satisfied with Scotland's players during the World Cup © PA Photos
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson is set to unveil his Six Nations squad on Thursday as preparations for the Calcutta Cup clash with England begin in earnest.
The bulk of the squad poised to come together for February 4 tournament opener is set to come from the 30-man group which travelled to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup but returned defeated by England and eliminated at the group phase for the first time.
Robinson may also appoint a new permanent captain, with World Cup skipper Alastair Kellock by no means a first-choice pick in the second row, as he seeks to improve on a record of two wins in 10 Six Nations matches as head coach.
Flankers John Barclay and Kelly Brown and hooker Ross Ford all have a realistic chance of being handed the captaincy. Chris Paterson and Nathan Hines have retired, while the elder members of the World Cup squad, such as fly-half Dan Parks and wing Simon Danielli, may be omitted in favour of youth.
Glasgow's Rob Harley, Duncan Weir, Stuart Hogg, Pat MacArthur and Ryan Wilson and Edinburgh's David Denton, Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist and Lee Jones are among those set to be included - if only for Robinson to see them at close quarters in an international environment.
Robinson plans to phase in the younger players in a period of evolution, rather than revolution. He said: "Ultimately, they've got to come in and be able to perform at their very best when they come into the Scotland team.
"But also I believe a lot of the players that played in the World Cup performed well and they will be given opportunities to continue their development in the Scotland shirt."
Parks, who is 33, has 66 caps and was omitted from Robinson's first squad as boss in 2009, has fallen behind Ruaridh Jackson in the pecking order. Jackson is being challenged at Glasgow for his place by Weir, with Edinburgh captain Greig Laidlaw - who can also play scrum-half - another option at No.10.
London Wasps' Hugo Southwell, who missed the World Cup through injury, and 19-year-old Glasgow back Hogg are in consideration for the full-back berth vacated by Paterson. In the back-row Harley, Wilson, Denton and McInally add to the options already at Robinson's disposal, meaning Johnnie Beattie is set to be omitted once again.
Newcastle tighthead prop Euan Murray, who is 31, will not be available for the Sunday games against Wales and France and could be sweating over his place, while Moray Low was the only squad member not to feature in New Zealand and has been limited in his appearances for Glasgow this term.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September