Graham ready to rumble
PA Sport
January 15, 2008

Scotland forwards coach George Graham cannot wait for the RBS 6 Nations to get under way.

With the February 3 home clash against France fast approaching, Graham believes the squad now have the ability and the self-belief necessary to become serious contenders for the championship.

``We had a relatively good World Cup, although I was bitterly disappointed with the performance in the quarter-final, and since then a lot of the players
have gone from strength to strength,'' Graham said.

``The confidence is building in the squad. So, without getting too carried away, I am looking forward to the challenge these boys are going to present in
the Six Nations.''

``For a lot of them, this will be their second or third Six Nations under this management team. We know where we are with these players, and I'm really, really looking forward to this campaign.''

Graham was speaking at the end of the first day of Scotland's two day training camp at Murrayfield yesterday.

He believes the success of Scotland's two club sides in the Heineken Cup at the weekend has boosted confidence in the squad.

Glasgow ground out their first Heineken Cup victory on the road in over a decade against Viadana, while Edinburgh achieved a notable victory over
Leicester at Murrayfield.

Graham said: ``I spent six years playing at Newcastle Falcons and only beat Leicester twice, and that was in the first year when we won the championship, so
to beat them is a great thing for Edinburgh.

``And Glasgow got a fantastic win - albeit a scrappy one - away to Viadana, which is great because to win away from home in the European Cup is a big ask -
it is really tough to do that.

``Our inferiority complex has diminished in recent years. A lot of our boys play outside Scotland now so they are used to winning regularly, and I think the
fact that the Scottish clubs are winning now as well means that there is definitely an air of confidence in our the squad - there was a spring in our step.

``That was especially the case during the scrummage session. There was boys who have tended to be quiet in the past stepping up and taking charge of
sessions, whereas that would normally be left to the more experienced guys. It has been really, really pleasing to see that.''

With so many players in fine form, Graham and his fellow coaches are going to have to make some tough calls when it comes to selection - but he has no
complaints about that.

``We have got boys knocking on the door,'' he said. ``We've always had a lot of back-row (forwards), but now we have got young guys coming through in other
positions, like the front row.

``These boys are making it very tough to pick the national side - but that's great.''

``In years gone by, we haven't had the depth of players, so we have maybe had to pick guys because we don't have anybody else.

``But now we have got two or three players in every position now who make us have to argue the point.

``I would rather have that headache of having too many, so that we don't rush into it. Selection meetings two years ago would maybe take 45 minutes to an
hour, but we are talking two or three hours now.''

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