It's really tough supporting Scotland at rugby. Really difficult watching them play and thinking, "that is the best our nation can do". The thing that gets me, is that Scotland's backs never look like breaking the line. Whenever Shane Williams or Jason Robinson gets/got the ball, you were always expecting the jinky little gits to magically weave their way through lines of defenders. Instead our backs take the ball at what seems like incredibly slow speeds and kind of bash in to the defenders.
Why do they take the ball so slow? No-one else does? Is it a tactic? I don't get it. If this is our international level, what do they do at club level? Walk?
Sean Lamont seems to be well admired and he does make a fair number of line breaks, but when he gets the ball, you are never expecting him to do some little side-step and dash through to the try-line.
I would give anything for a Scottish Shane Williams in the team. I find it hard to believe that he plays on the opposite wing to Nikki Walker. I know which wing I would be passing to.
Nikki - 11 trys in 45 games for Ospreys. 24%
Shane - 35 trys in 78 games for Ospreys. 45%
Anyhow, I've always reckoned that the main disadvantage that Scotland has is the number of prople playing rugby that it has to choose from. Scotland - 5 million people; England - 45 Million - so they's 9 times more people to choose from. As for Wales and New Zealand having less people than us - well the Welsh are just rugby mad, and the Kiwis have the Maoris.
Ian McGeechan once said that New Zealanders were just Scots who had learnt how to win.
Anyway, with regards to the number of people to choose from, I found an interesting article that suggests it is worse than the simple population stats would suggest. Put simply - not very many people in Scotland play rugby compared to other countries.
I've summarised it below (figures include women and children):
England - 1,000,000 players
France - 212,000
New Zealand - 141,000
Japan - 126,000
Ireland - 100,000
Argentina - 81,000
Zimbabwe - 55,000
Italy - 45,000
Wales - 42,000
Scotland - 24,000
Spain - 17,000
Madagasgar - 17,000
Chile - 16,000
It's worth reading this article, in which it is suggested that on the basis of the above numbers, Scotland actually punches above its weight. I would tend to agree.
So basically the problem is that we are a lazy nation who can't be arsed to play sport. That, or we just don't like rugby that much compared to football. I remember when I briefly played club rugby in Scotland and it was always a struggle to get 15 people together for the game. Half the team couldn't be bothered turning up because they were hungover. Quite sad really.
There are more deep-rooted problems with the SRU, but I won't go in to that now.