Rugby World Cup 2011
Robinson vows to turn Scotland around
October 2, 2011
Scotland were left to ponder what might have been after losing two of their pool games by narrow margins © Getty Images
Andy Robinson has backed himself to continue as Scotland boss despite seeing his side exit the World Cup at the pool stages for the first time in their history.
England's 16-12 win over Robinson's men in Auckland and Argentina's 25-7 defeat of Georgia confirmed Scotland's third place in Pool B, meaning they have failed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time. But Robinson, who earlier this year had signed a contract extension until after the 2015 World Cup in England, is determined to lead the team into the 2012 Six Nations and beyond.
Robinson said: "I have a contract to 2015 and I have the desire to still coach Scotland. The way the players have gone about this tournament - the enthusiasm that they've had - has fuelled my desire even more to create a successful Scotland team.
"Obviously everybody's hugely disappointed with the way that we ended the tournament and with not qualifying for the quarter-final stages. But there's a lot of positives I'm going to take out of the tournament and for the squad it's important now we're able to start the planning now for the Six Nations."
For the second successive week Scotland led in the latter stages, only to suffer an agonising loss. After the late defeat to Argentina in Wellington, last night Chris Ashton's 77th-minute try, converted by Toby Flood, saw England progress as group winners despite Scotland having much the better of the match at Eden Park.
Robinson added: "There's a frustration. There's a frustration for the Scottish supporters and anybody involved in Scottish rugby and also for the players. There's a great group of players here and they put themselves into winning positions and we're unable to see it out.
"Winning and losing is about small margins; it's about the inches. That's what Test rugby's about. You've got to be able to finish teams off. We weren't able to do that.
"It's a hard lesson. Sometimes sport can be cruel, but it's about how you can bounce yourself back and get yourselves ready for your next challenge."
A number of members of the squad left New Zealand today, soon after their elimination was confirmed by Argentina's win. Further groups will leave tomorrow and on Tuesday. Robinson added: "For the players, those challenges will be going back to their clubs and being able to deliver for their clubs. For the team management it's about preparing a side to be involved in the Six Nations and ironically our first game will be against England at Murrayfield (on February 4)."
Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson sustained a hamstring injury and was forced off after five minutes last night. Jackson has undergone scans to determine the full extent of the problem Wing Max Evans was forced off at half-time with a dead leg.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.