Scotland’s Rugby Triumph and the Robinson Factor

Scotland’s rugby team shows great team-spirit in beating the much-fancied Australians. Their new coach Andy Robinson must take some of the credit

Sport often provides moments of triumph and irony packaged up together. So it was on Saturday [21st November 2003]. It was a day with too much sport for anyone without the benefits of recording technology. Come to think of it, it’s been that sort of week, with calls for video-replays to prevent cheating footballers thwart the efforts of gallant Celtic warriors in their efforts to reach the World Cup finals.

Rugby Union followers on Saturday found two internationals being screened simultaneously mid-afternoon. Truth to tell they were not exactly memorable games. England lost to the New Zealand All Blacks. No surprise there. Wales just about avoided gifting the game to Argentina’s Pumas. An exasperated Brian Moore awarded man of the match to Argentinian Lobo, arguing that he didn’t have to pick someone on the winning side.

Scotland v Australia

Many neutrals may have missed the final game of the day between Scotland and Australia. This was barely mentioned in the English media in the run-up to the game. The result was presumed to be as inevitable as that of the England/ New Zealand game. Australia would win by many an Ozzie mile.

Except it didn’t happen. Scotland scrapped. The wind gusted. The Ozzies couldn’t break down the Scots defence. Their usually reliable kicker Matt Giteau was by his standards woeful.

Then at last the Australians crashed over for a last-minute try. Giteau had one more chance to win the game. He missed again. Scotland had won against the Australian team for the first time in over 20 years.

Andy Robinson

The irony of the result came from the contribution made by the new Coach, Andy Robinson. He had been sacked by England for lack of results earlier in the year. England’s results have continued to be less than impressive. Meanwhile he has been demonstrating that his coaching skills might not have been a problem which England fixed on his dismissal.

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