Robinson wants flying start with Scots after red rose circus

Andy Robinson has been this way before, of course. Five years and one day ago, the former red rose flanker presided over his maiden Test voyage as England's head coach, a 70-0 victory against Canada at Twickenham. This afternoon at Murrayfield he sets out at the helm for Scotland, his international coaching career having not quite not sunk without trace when his England days foundered on the rocks of the 2006 autumn season.

There has been a keen glint in Robinson's eyes ahead of his return to the fray against Fiji in Edinburgh today – a marked contrast to the careworn look of the man who appeared to be carrying the worries of the world upon his shoulders as he sat watching his out-of-sorts, injury-hit England slump to Twickenham defeats against New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa three years ago. "It's down to us," he said. "We're in control of our ability to get a go-forward in attack. We're in control of our ability to knock over the Fijians, and that's key for us. They'll be very physical and it's a very good Test match for us in terms of how we deal with it – how we control them. I'm looking forward to us rising to those challenges."

There was a time when "us" was "them" but since moving north of the border two years ago, initially as coach of Edinburgh, Robinson has become part of the fabric of Scottish rugby. The thistle emblem sits comfortably on the left breast of his polo shirt.

Robinson has compared his time in charge of England to being "like the warrior in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who gets his limbs chopped off one by one and keeps coming back for more" – a reference to a lack of support from above within the Rugby Football Union. He returns to the international arena with the full confidence of the Scottish Rugby Union, who gave him a three-year contract in June, after selecting him ahead of Mike Brewer, the former Scotland forwards coach, whom it just so happens will be in the opposition ranks at Murrayfield today as technical director of "the Flying Fijians".

The big challenge for Robinson, in his second international coaching incarnation, will be going into battle with far fewer resources than he enjoyed first time around.

Scotland have 10,556 registered senior male players. England have 705,272. Even the Fijians, one place above Scotland at ninth in the International Rugby Board rankings, have 14,400. Robinson might have been shorn of the likes of Jonny Wilkinson and Steve Borthwick when he fought his last stand with England – a 25-14 defeat against the Springboks – but he had the luxury of Lewis Moody, Ben Kay and Toby Flood on bench duty.

Still, he is the canniest of operators, as he showed in guiding Edinburgh to Heineken Cup victories against Leicester and Leinster the season before last and to the runners-up berth behind Munster in the Magners League last term. Having taken charge of the Scotland A team in the Nations Cup in Romania in the summer, Robinson has already started to mould the emerging talent at his disposal.

Four of the young guns from that successful campaign are in his 22-man squad today: Worcester Warrior Alex Grove, who makes his debut at outside centre; Glasgow prop Moray Low, who lines up for his first senior international start; and the Edinburgh prop Kyle Traynor and Glasgow flanker Richie Vernon, who are poised for baptisms off the bench.

Scotland R Lamont (Toulon); S Lamont (Scarlets), A Grove (Worcester), G Morrison (Glasgow), S Danielli (Ulster); P Godman (Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Glasgow, capt); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow), N Hines (Leinster), A Kellock (Glasgow), A Strokosch (Gloucester), J Barclay (Glasgow), J Beattie (Glasgow). Replacements: D Hall (Glasgow), K Traynor (Edinburgh), J White (Clermont Auvergne), R Vernon (Glasgow), M Blair (Edinburgh), C Paterson (Edinburgh), N De Luca (Edinburgh).

Fiji J Matavesi (Exeter); V Goneva (Vatura), G Lovobalavu (Toulon), S Bai (Clermont Auvergne, capt), N Nalaga (Clermont Auvergne); N Little (Bath), M Rauluni (Saracens); A Yalayalatabua (Navy), V Veikoso (Mavoci), D Manu (Scarlets), W Lewaravu (London Welsh), I Rawaqa (World Fighting Bulls), J Domolailai (Lomavata), A Qera (Gloucester), A Boko (Tau). Replacements: G Dewes (Esher), S Ledua (FTG), L Nakarawa (Army Green), S Bola (Police), W Vatuvoka (Duavata), J Ratu (Cagimaira), N Roko (Yokogawa).

Referee: C White (England).

Kick-off: 2.30pm; TV: BBC1.

Although currently higher in the world rankings, Fiji have only beaten Scotland once in their history. It came in the only match the two have played in Fiji, and finished 51-26, with Fero Lasagavibau scoring three tries.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little