France v Scotland, Six Nations Championship, February 14
Steadman admits Scots' Evans error
February 11, 2009
Thom Evans was controversially omitted from the Scotland squad to face Wales last weekend © Getty Images
Scotland assistant coach Graham Steadman has admitted that the decision to leave in-form Glasgow wing Thom Evans out of the 22 to face Wales in their opening game of the Six Nations may have cost them. Evans has scored nine tries in 14 games for the Warriors this season, but was surprisingly left out of the squad in favour of Sean Lamont and Simon Webster.
Wales blitzed the Scots in a 26-13 win, with one of the few positives for Scotland being an excellent solo try from the elder Evans brother Max, who was named on the bench. Now, Steadman has admitted that the Scotland management may have made a mistake in selecting the safe options of Lamont and Webtser over the pacy Evans boys.
"I think Max Evans answered that when he came off the bench," the former Ireland defence coach said. "He had a massive impact and looked very dynamic. Thom is very much the same. We may have left out one of our key players and it may have cost us. The proof will be in the next few weeks, if Thom gets his opportunity.
"We may be proven wrong but hindsight is a wonderful thing and unfortunately the decisions we made didn't come off at the weekend."
With Webster looking unlikely to figure against France this weekend due to a concussion sustained at Murrayfield, Steadman has been attempting to steel Evans' defence in order to ready him for international competition.
"Being defence coach, I would always go for the security of having a player that I've seen over recent weeks in his club form being solid defensively," he said. "Thom's got electrifying pace, he is a player who lifts spectators off their seats. He is top-class as a try scorer, as he has proven in the Magners League.
"We had a little bit of a project with me and Gary Mercer, the defence coach at Glasgow, with a view to developing the kid, who has only been in the game for two years. Thom is not that far off and I did say last week, 'Who is to say that Thom Evans will not figure in the Six Nations?' Obviously, Webbo [Webster] is looking 50-50."
Steadman hinted that there may be changes to the Scotland side for the trip to the Stade de France, believing that the pressure may have gotten to certain players at Murrayfield.
"On Sunday there were too many personal battles won in their favour and, as a consequence, collectively we were on the back foot," Steadman added. "Having played at that level myself at a different code, the pressure can get to certain players. It can have a knock-on effect on players playing beside them and there were one or two situations at the weekend where that did occur.
"To the credit of the Welsh, they isolated those channels and punished us severely. I felt the scoreline was a little bit flattering in our favour, if I'm being brutally honest. We have a six-day turnaround to get things right and it's important that everything is on the button."