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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Scotland: The Flag-Bearer of Northern Hemisphere Rugby?

Scotland did not have a great 2011. A poor 6 Nations followed up by not getting past the first round at RWC 2011 in New Zealand, where their inability to score tries would cost them dearly.

2012 did not start well for the Scots, who did not win a single match in the Six Nations in a Wooden Spoon performance.

The great thing about sport is that sometimes, it can throw logic and conventional wisdom on it's head.

After the second week of June Internationals taking place in the Southern Hemisphere, France, England, Wales, and Ireland have yet to win an international. Wales and Ireland came close against the Walabies and the All Blacks, and France was edged out by the Pumas in Argentina. Close, but as the saying goes, close only counts in throwing horse-shoes and hand grenades.

The unexpected standard bearer of Northern Rugby has been none other than the Scots, who shocked the Wallabies 9-6 in brutal conditions in Newcastle, and then defeated Fiji 37-25 on the strength of two Tim Visser Tries. A win next week in Samoa would give the Scots a perfect June International performance. (Samoa warmed up by beating Japan this weekend).

People can talk about luck for the Scots at catching Australia in their first game and taking advantage of appalling conditions, but the bottom line is that Scotland succeeded where Grand Slam Winners Wales have lost-twice.

Andy Robinson, the head coach of Scotland, has to be thrilled with the results, as more than a few people were surprised he kept his job after the woeful performance in the 6 Nations. The wins in Australia and Fiji have probably at least taken the heat off Coach Robinson.

All of that said, who would have guessed that at this point of the June tours, that Scotland would be the only Northern Team with not just one win, but two in test matches. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

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