Scotland opt against three-Test tours
May 26, 2010
Scotland coach Andy Robinson does not believe his side are best served by three-Tests series against the southern hemisphere giants © Getty Images
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has dismissed reports that his side have been shunned by the southern hemisphere giants.
The International Rugby Board recently announced a global tour schedule covering the next eight years and some reports subsequently suggested Scotland had been snubbed after it was revealed they would play no part in the All Blacks' three-Test tours during that period.
But Robinson has welcomed the opportunites presented by the schedule that will see the Scots host Australia, New Zealand and South Africa a total of nine times between 2012 and 2018, as well as welcoming Argentina to Murrayfield on three occasions. They will also tour Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the Pacific Islands, Japan and North America during the schedule.
During British and Irish Lions tour years - 2013 and 2017 - Scotland will feature in tournaments involving one of the southern hemisphere's big three and other countries, the details of which have yet to be finalised.
"I am very pleased with the tours schedule. I think we have a first-rate programme of Autumn Tests incoming to Murrayfield, which are important for our rugby development," said Robinson. "As far as our overseas tours are concerned I do not believe it would be beneficial for us to play a series of three Tests against the individual SANZAR countries at the end of our season.
"What I believe works for us, from a performance perspective, is a mix between SANZAR and Tier 2 unions as that gives us the opportunity to develop players which is part and parcel of touring."
Graham Lowe, Scottish Rugby's Director of Performance, added,"I'm delighted that our request to the IRB for parity and equity in the November tour schedule has been accepted and that our preference for mixed tours in June has been agreed. Like Andy, I firmly believe that the schedule, as outlined, will assist with our rugby development and importantly develops solid relationships with some of world rugby's emerging nations."
In related news, Edinburgh lock Scott MacLeod has been called into the Scotland squad for next month's two-Test tour of Argentina. MacLeod's fellow lock Nathan Hines is unable to tour following the death of his mother-in-law. The inclusion of 31-year-old MacLeod raises the prospect of him potentially adding to his 21 caps, the last of which was won on the corresponding tour two years ago.
Robinson said, "Scott has worked hard on improving his game at Edinburgh this past season and he will have a further opportunity to get better in Argentina."
MacLeod's promotion from the Scotland A squad has opened up space in that unit for his Edinburgh team-mate, Scott Newlands, who will travel to the IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest next month.