Scotland A Intent On Retaining Irb Nations Cup
Scotland A are intent on retaining the silverware that they won in Bucharest last June when the IRB Nations Cup returns to the Romanian capital this summer. Last year, the A team, under the guidance of Andy Robinson, Gregor Townsend and Graham Steadman, saw off Uruguay, Russia and France to win the title. This year, with Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen, at the helm Scotland A will encounter Georgia, Namibia and the Argentina Jaguars. There will be particular focus on Scotland A’s opening match against Georgia, given that the Georgians are in Scotland’s pool at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand; that they gave Ireland a real scare at the last World Cup in France; and that the Georgians have been receiving technical assistance from the former Scotland coach Richie Dixon. Lineen said: “This competition will be a massive test for our players, especially given that the national team will be on tour in Argentina simultaneously. “We go to Romania as defending IRB Nations Cup champions and there’s a huge incentive for the players that we choose knowing that from those players who delivered for us last year, the likes of Alex Grove, Richie Vernon and Kyle Traynor were rewarded by being chosen to play for the national team. “There will certainly be a bit of spice to the game against Georgia and it will be interesting to see how strong the South African influence is in Namibia’s approach, given that Namibia have also already qualified for next year’s World Cup. “We’ve faced the Argentina Jaguars before, most recently in the Churchill Cup in Canada in 2008, when we won 27-24, a result that helped us qualify for the final of that competition.” Scotland A’s try scorers that day, Rob Dewey, Colin Gregor, Jim Thompson and Andrew Turnbull could all be candidates for selection this time around. “We are delighted with the line-up for this year’s IRB Nations Cup and particularly pleased to welcome Namibia back following their last appearance in 2007 and Georgia who played in last year’s Churchill Cup, said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. The IRB Nations Cup is a very important event for our Tier Two Unions as they prepare for Rugby World Cup 2011 and equally important for Argentina who are increasing their elite playing structures in preparation for inclusion in an expanded Tri Nations tournament from 2012 onwards. Scotland A’s matches will be on Friday 11 June against Georgia with an 8pm kick-off local time (6pm UK time); on Tuesday 15 June against Namibia, kick-off 6pm local (4pm UK); and on Sunday 20 June against Argentina Jaguars, kick-off 8pm local (6pm UK). Scotland A will assemble for the tournament on Sunday 6 June. The Scotland A squad and the other members of the management will be named next month (May).