European success leaves Robinson believing Scots can kick the habit

 

If at first you don't succeed, then try and try again? Not necessarily. Not if you're Scotland on Calcutta Cup day at Murrayfield.

Since 2004, when England last tasted victory in Edinburgh, guided by Clive Woodward (and ably assisted by some chap called Robinson), Scotland have won two and drawn one of their three Six Nations encounters at home to the Auld Enemy. They have done so without scoring a try.

They last crossed the opposing whitewash against England at Murrayfield in that 35-13 defeat eight years ago, Simon Danielli claiming a consolation score.

So there is more than just the one way to skin the English cat. Which is perhaps just as well for the Scots, given that they head into Saturday's championship opener on the back of three tryless games at the World Cup.

"What is it about Scottish rugby that has made try-scoring as rare as rain in the Sahara?" The Scotsman newspaper pondered in the aftermath of Scotland's first failure to make the quarter-finals of a World Cup. Three-and-a-half months on, however, the tries have been raining down on the mud of Murrayfield. In qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, Edinburgh have run in 17 of them.

They beat Racing Métro and London Irish home and away, while Glasgow, runners-up in their pool, beat Bath and Montpellier at home and gave the champions, Leinster, a run for their Euros at Firhill. Scottish rugby appears to have had its parts refreshed by the Heineken Cup.

"Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have performed," said Andy Robinson, Scotland's head coach. "I'm delighted. It has really built the enthusiasm. There's an edge, which is great.

"There's an expectation that's high in Scotland at the moment and I think you can see that within the squad. There's no doubt everybody believes in what we're about and what we can achieve."

Robinson, who was England's head coach from 2004-06, added: "We've been in this position quite a few times and not delivered the winning result, and everybody has that frustration. We've got to put together the side next week under Ross Ford's leadership and go out and understand the mentality, the execution, to deliver that result."

Though Robinson has delivered some notable results in his two-and-a-half years in charge of Scotland – Murrayfield wins against Australia and the Springboks, victory against Ireland at Croke Park, a series win in Argentina – he has only won one out of five games in each of the previous two Six Nations. This time he hopes to hit the ground running with a team that will have some new touches – if not quite the makeover of the opposition.

Ford, the Edinburgh hooker, will be captain for the first time. And for the first time since the turn of the millennium there will be no Chris Paterson. The Edinburgh full-back and his trusty right boot have gone into international retirement after 109 caps.

Nathan Hines has also hung up his international boots, but the pack is likely to be refreshed by the dynamic Dave Denton, another Edinburgh player and the latest star product from the Caledonian back-row factory. There will be a change at fly-half, too, although the absence through injury of Ruaridh Jackson, Robinson's first choice at the World Cup, may prompt a return for Dan Parks rather than a debut for Glasgow's Duncan Weir.

With Scotland, it always comes down to the numbers game and limited resources. Robinson wants to play a high-tempo running game but Parks's strongest suit is his tactical kicking. He has never been the best at distribution by hand.

All of which could bring us back, by default, to penalties and drop goals. Not that the bulk of Murrayfield's patrons are likely to care if England are repelled in Edinburgh once again.

10 years at Murrayfield

13 March 2010: Scotland 15 England 15

8 March 2008: Scotland 15 England 9

25 Feb 2006: Scotland 18 England 12

21 Feb 2004: Scotland 13 England 35

2 Feb 2002: Scotland 3 England 29

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam