Robinson quits to leave calamitous Scotland in disarray for Six Nations

Nick Mallett in frame for Murrayfield job as coach walks out after 21-15 defeat to Tonga

Andy Robinson had warned there would be consequences following his Scotland side's numbing 21-15 defeat to Tonga and within hours of making the prediction, he proved himself right by quitting as national coach. Not for the first time in recent years, the Scots are approaching a Six Nations tournament with no clear idea of who will pick and prepare a team whose place in the world rankings is likely to slip to a lowly 12th as a result of Saturday's calamity in Aberdeen.

Robinson's decision was announced yesterday, less than 24 hours after he had watched his players fall flat on their faces against a fast-improving but less than daunting group of South Seas tourists. As is the way of sporting severance agreements these days, his immediate reaction to the performance – "It was totally unacceptable and I'm very angry, it reflects on me as a coach," he said after the final whistle – was significantly more forthright than his resignation statement.

In yesterday's statement he thanked those who had supported him since his appointment three years ago and argued that he had "left the side in a better position" than he found it.

He will be hurting, though: the 47-year-old West Countryman, who succeeded Sir Clive Woodward as England coach in 2005 only to be driven out of Twickenham a little over two years later after a poor run of autumn results, has always been a heart-on-the-sleeve type and he takes failure – not to mention humiliation – very personally indeed.

Before last season's Six Nations, he indicated that he would be ready to walk away from Scotland if the tournament turned out badly. While he thought better of making that grand gesture following a winless campaign that could hardly have gone worse, he knew he could not countenance another barren run.

Scotland's summer tour of Australia and the Pacific Islands threw a more positive light on things – there were wins over the Wallabies, Fiji and Samoa – but all-too-predictable failures against New Zealand and South Africa earlier this month had made Tonga a must-win fixture. The result left Robinson contemplating an unenviable record of 10 defeats in 13 Tests, stretching back to last year's World Cup, when the team failed to survive the pool stage for the first time in the history of the competition.

Mark Dodson, the chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union, indicated Robinson would have been sacked had he not made his excuses and left of his own volition. "Andy has overseen some fine results as head coach since he was appointed in June 2009 but the recent defeats have been very disappointing," Dodson said, adding that a recruitment process was now under way.

Nick Mallett, the South African who rejected the chance to succeed Martin Johnson as England boss a year ago, will automatically be placed at the top of the candidates list, but in the meantime the current assistant coach, Scott Johnson, an Australian, will run the show.

As for Robinson, a return to Premiership rugby is the likely outcome of yesterday's developments. At the very least, he is acknowledged far and wide as an outstanding forwards specialist: he was at the heart of the England back-room team who helped deliver a world title in 2003 and prepared the British and Irish Lions pack on both the 2001 tour of Australia and the 2005 trek around New Zealand. Had things gone better for Scotland in the last Six Nations, he would have run Warren Gatland very close for the top job ahead of next summer's return to Wallaby country.

He may, however, have to play a lengthy waiting game. Most Premiership teams including his beloved Bath – the club for whom he played as an international-class flanker and guided to a ground-breaking Heineken Cup title in 1998 – have settled coaching set-ups. The one obvious exception, Sale, is hardly an attractive proposition, given the rapid turnover of personnel in recent times.

Robinson is bound to be linked with a return to Bath: he still lives in the city and knows both the owner, Bruce Craig, and the chief executive, Nick Blofeld, from his student days. But as Craig pieced together a new, high-profile coaching staff under the South African strategist Gary Gold only last summer, there is no obvious vacancy.

Scottish saviours? Job contenders

Nick Mallett

Former South Africa coach courted by England was most recently Italy's coach for four years.

Scott Johnson

Australian who was briefly Wales' head coach will be caretaker as Robinson's main assistant coach.

Michael Bradley

Irishman coached Edinburgh to last season's Heineken Cup semi-finals.

Sean Lineen

Kiwi was head coach of Glasgow before taking up a role as Scottish Rugby's head of player acquisition.

Todd Blackadder

In Scots' coaching set-up under Matt Williams, former All Black is now head coach at NZ's Crusaders.

Jake White

Guided native South Africa to World Cup glory in France in 2007. Now head coach at Australia's Brumbies.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'