Scotland rugby legend Jim Renwick is calling on national coach Andy Robinson to give youth a fling ahead of Sunday’s vital RBS Six Nations Championship visit to Wales.
Once again a lack of creativity cost the Scots dearly as they opened with a 13-6 home defeat by England which has prompted calls of ‘ring in the new’. Says Renwick, a British and Irish Lion who retired as a Scottish cap record holder on his 52nd appearance in 1984: “It is a really tough call for Andy whether to stick with what he has or go with new boys this weekend.
“He’s had changes and they didn’t do it for the team – but Scotland can’t stand still after a defeat and do nothing.
“When there were World Cup warm-up wins over Ireland and Italy, Andy must have believed he had depth but things haven’t worked out.
“I’ve seen Greig Laidlaw play a few times for Edinburgh and maybe he’ll start at stand off unless the call goes to Duncan Weir, who was man of the match when Scotland A beat England Saxons 35-0 on Friday night.
“At least when there are results like that happening somebody somewhere must be doing something right.
“Wales coach Warren Gatland has been saying Scotland play well at times but without an x-factor and you wonder who would provide that missing spark.
“I’ve seen a bit of Stuart Hogg, who was at full back for Scotland A but is considered to be a centre at Glasgow and he must have a chance of coming in.
“What I certainly feel is that young lads like Stuart and Matt Scott, who has done well at centre for Edinburgh (and Scotland A) since signing from Currie, need to be involved more with the senior squad and definitely by the end of this season.
“Their chance will come and there was even a case for bringing in the new boys for a home game rather than an away trip although I recognise that Andy Robinson was trying to ensure a winning start to the Championship.
“I just can’t see Scotland’s selection being too adventurous this weekend and, although it would be going too far to say it will be damage limitation, I expect Robinson to play it pretty safely. Whenever I’ve seen him with Edinburgh, Laidlaw has mixed things up well from stand off and, if Scotland are going to keep picking some players who do the same things, are they going to get any better?
“There needs to be a shake-up and I’m reminded of the saying that the older you get in international rugby the less you can afford to play a bad game but it is amazing how a couple of good results can quickly turn things around.”
Renwick has experience of travelling to Cardiff as part of a Scotland side written off – and duly emerged with a rare away win. That was back in 1982 and he recalled: “Wales had a couple of injuries to key players on the eve of the match and that coupled with a bit of instinctive flair from our winger, Roger Baird, swung things our way.
“It can turn out that way again especially with the pack doing pretty well but it isn’t the best back line Scotland have fielded and there is a need to get more of these lads carrying the ball in attack.”
• GREIG LAIDLAW has been included along with second row colleague Jim Hamilton in the first Six Nations “team of the week”, chosen by the influential Planet Rugby website.
The citation for stand off Laidlaw reads: “ If you think we’re intentionally throwing a cat amongst the pigeons here, you’re right. Laidlaw only played 20 minutes but the difference he made to the Scottish attack cannot go unnoticed by Andy Robinson. Did he score a try? The debate will go for while yet . .”
As for Hamilton, he is described as being “one of Scotland’s best ball carriers” and it is also noted that “Hamilton was solid at line-out time.”
There are four Welshmen nominated – George North, Jonathan Davies, Mike Phillips and Ryan Jones.