Robinson shakes up Scotland side

A penny for Andy Robinson's thoughts yesterday as he settled into his seat in an Edinburgh hotel to name his first international XV for three weeks short of three years. Now where was he, before being so rudely interrupted by the thumbs-down of the management board of the Rugby Football Union? Ah yes, picking an England side hamstrung by injury and a collective loss of form – an England side that not once, in his 22-match tenure as head coach, had the luxury of Jonny Wilkinson calling the shots from No 10. What might have been for the red rose Robinson regime had the stricken World Cup winner of 2003 been in the pivotal position for those fateful autumn Twickenham Tests of 2006?

What happens to be in the realms of certainty is that Robinson will be picking up the threads of his international coaching career when Fiji visit Murrayfield on Saturday. It will be his first Test since 25 November, 2006, when a 25-14 defeat against the Springboks set the seal on his time as head honcho at Twickenham. His starting XV for the occasion of his debut as Scotland's head coach has been stamped with his personal imprint.

Of the 15 Scots who lined up at Twickenham back in March for what proved to be the last stand of the Frank Hadden era, a 26-12 defeat against England, only five players have made it on to Robinson's maiden team-sheet: winger Simon Danielli, centre Graeme Morrison, stand-off Phil Godman, hooker Ross Ford and flanker Alasdair Strokosch. Injury has accounted for the absence of several others while the Stade Français No 8 Simon Taylor has removed himself from the selection equation, for the time being at least.

Nonetheless, Robinson has laid down a marker with the selection he has made from a 32-man squad. Chris Cusiter has been given the nod at scrum-half ahead of Mike Blair, who was first choice for the No 9 jersey throughout Hadden's four-year stint in charge.

There is a debut at outside centre for Alex Grove, the Worcester Warrior who qualifies for Scotland through his grandfather. There is also a first start at tighthead prop for Glasgow's Moray Low, while Rory Lamont gets the full-back jersey, ahead of Chris Paterson.

"I looked at how we're going to approach the whole 80 minutes," Robinson said, when asked about the latter call. "I'm very happy that Phil Godman is our front-line goalkicker starting the game. He had an 81 per cent success rate in the Magners League last season. Also, I'm very happy with the way Rory Lamont has been playing at full-back for Toulon. The two Lamonts [Sean, Rory's elder brother, has been picked on the right wing] are dynamic, strong, evasive runners and very powerful."

Robinson's Scotland are likely to need all of the power and dynamism they can get against a Fijian side ranked one place above them, at nine, in the International Rugby Board's global pecking order. Fiji are a well-coached, very physical team," Robinson added. "It's a very good Test match for us. It's all about delivering on game day."

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice