Scotland, the land of the desolate Highlands and their traditional food, containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs (among other things) – Haggis.
Did you know that Haggis is used in a sport called Haggis Hurling, which involves throwing a Haggis as far as possible? The world record stands at an incredible 66m…
Anyway, enough about Haggis, what about their rugby team? Following is three things you need to know about the Scottish rugby side heading into the RWC.
1. Kiwi Connections
Scotland have featured in all 7 RWC’s, with a highest finish of 4th in 1991.
They have a kiwi coach in Vern Cotter and 2 kiwi born players that surely will help their TAB odds, especially considering both players have clocked up over 50 Super Rugby caps.
Both Sean Maitland and John Hardie are making their RWC debuts for Scotland, and as for Vern Cotter, his résumé speaks for itself.
He has been head coach of Bay of Plenty for 5 seasons, forwards coach at the Crusaders for 3 seasons, including 2 Super Rugby titles, and most recently, he has leqd French club Clermont to a Top 14 championship in 2010.
2. Altitude Training
Without getting too scientific, training at altitude can drastically improve fitness, especially when performing at sea level.
So with this in mind, the Scottish team have been doing exactly that.
At a training base in the French Pyrenees, the players have been drilled and battle hardened so come game time, they will be fit and raring to go.
Look for the ‘Scots’ to be one of the fitter teams out there.
3. No Luck Against the Kiwis
It is relatively well known that Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks. They have. however, had 2 draws.
It gets worse for the Scots come RWC time having been effectively knocked out of the tournament 4 of the 7 times by the All Blacks.
The draw this year looks a little more favourable for them, as they don’t have to face the All Blacks until the final, if in the very unlikely scenario, they were both to make it that far.
The key game for them happens to be their last game of pool play against Samoa.
They should see off both, Japan and the USA relatively easily, struggle against the South Africans and therefore, set up a final showdown with the Samoans, which will decide who goes through to the Quarter Finals.
I’m picking them to win this fixture and then, bow out in the Quarter Finals.