Robinson praises variety of Scotland tour schedule

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The Independent Online

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has welcomed their international tours schedule for the next eight years, which was announced yesterday by the International Rugby Board. The Scots will host Australia, New Zealand and South Africa a total of nine times between 2012 and 2018, as well as facing Argentina at Murrayfield on three occasions.

They will also tour Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the Pacific Islands, Japan and North America during the schedule.

During British and Irish Lions tour years – 2013 and 2017 – Scotland will feature in tournaments involving one of the southern hemisphere's big three and other countries, the details of which have yet to be finalised.

Some reports suggested Scotland had been snubbed after it was revealed they would play no part in the All Blacks' three-Test tours, as they prepare to host Ireland, France, England and Wales between 2012 and 2016. But Robinson said: "I am very pleased with the tours schedule. I think we have a first-rate programme of autumn Tests incoming to Murrayfield, which are important for our rugby development.

"As far as our overseas tours are concerned I do not believe it would be beneficial for us to play a series of three Tests against the individual Sanzar countries at the end of our season. What I believe works for us, from a performance perspective, is a mix between Sanzar and Tier 2 unions as that gives us the opportunity to develop players, which is part and parcel of touring."

Graham Lowe, Scottish Rugby's director of performance, said: "I'm delighted that our request to the IRB for parity and equity in the November tour schedule has been accepted and that our preference for mixed tours in June has been agreed."

Meanwhile, head coach Allister Coetzee has resisted making any alterations to his Stormers side for Saturday's Super 14 final against the Bulls, naming an unchanged starting XV for the match in Soweto. However, there is one change on the bench, where the prop J C Kritzinger is drafted in ahead of Eusebio Guinazu.

The Cape Town franchise, who are playing in their first final, beat the Waratahs 25-6 last week. Coetzee said: "This is a once-in a-lifetime opportunity and we should take the last chance to win a Super 14 because it changes next year."

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