Having followed Scottish rugby for around 60 years, I am obviously used to many more lows than highs – but have never felt without hope.
However, after the last two internationals in Dublin and Edinburgh, I am afraid I feel nothing but despair and hopelessness at what passes for professional rugby in Scotland. The players can only be described as “professional” in that they are being paid, but their efforts are definitely not professional and are only matched by the incompetence which appears to rule within Murrayfield.
The coaching staff and players continuously talk the talk, but appear to be unable to walk the walk. I am sure we are all sick of hearing about learning curves and journeys, where the curves appear to be downwards and the journeys in reverse.
What kind of organisation would sign up a new coach who is not available for many months in advance, which in itself cannot make life easy for either players or current coaching staff?
It is impossible to run professional rugby with only two teams, which are filled with many non-qualified Scottish players, and there is no proper system to bring young players through from club level to the professional game, such as there is in England, Wales and Ireland with semi-professional leagues where they can experience hard, physical rugby with a view to being prepared for the top level when selected. This is instead of being cannon fodder for far better prepared teams which must be demoralising – just look at the agegrade scores and results to see how the current so-called “system” is not working.
Until we get forward-thinking people who can set up some kind of system similar to that of other countries into position at Murrayfield, we are only going to go further and further downwards.
Forget the farce of the British and Irish Cup where teams qualify by league position and then field an entirely different side, supposedly bolstered by pros, and still get hammered. And as for the international sevens side which consistently achieves nothing, would the cost of that not be better spent on trying to improve our overall game to get to at least the level of the other British teams?
I am going to Rome where in the past I went with hope, but this time I will not even have that.
While it may appear that I am being very critical of the players, they are only the product of a faulty system and would have to be really exceptional to come out of it successfully.