Scotland rugby coach Andy Robinson has backed his squad to handle the rare experience of playing two internationals within almost five days during next month’s World Cup in New Zealand.
The Scots kick off against Romania at 1.00pm local time on Saturday, September 10 and are next in action the following Wednesday, albeit with a 7.30pm start, against Georgia, also in Invercargill.
One of the challenges lies in the way teams adapt to a situation not found outside a global tournament but Robinson hinted he would save his strongest line-up for the second game, saying: “We’ll be looking for a mini-peak for the Georgia game; that is our main thrust as well as looking to deliver against Romania but there are five days in between and I’m happy the players will recover quickly.”
The Scots have already demonstrated strength in depth by seeing off both Ireland and Italy in the build-up despite 14 changes in the respective starting line-ups.
Again this was alluded to by Robinson when he referred to his likely opening selections, saying: “It is a squad that has been very consistent and it is a squad with good balance. So, whatever team we select we expect the players to deliver.”
Build-up matches contain a ‘phoney war’ element with no team ever likely to reveal a full repertoire of tactics under the scrutiny of future rivals on a world stage. But Robinson maintains that priority had been achieving the feelgood factor that comes with winning.
“Winning the next Test match is what we look at.
“You can get very concerned about hiding stuff but the main thing is our players keep working at our game. There’s a lot to do and I don’t think we are in any position to hide things.
“I’m not going with any pre-conceived ideas. All my selections are about how the players are playing and who we are playing against.”