The Scotland dressing room, Saturday afternoon
So, Geech, given that we got humped last year by these guys, what's the plan for today?
As ever, it’s simple, Budgie. Despite the narrow English victory last year, I remain, as you know, the best coach in the known universe. And this year we’re at Fortress Murrayfield, and boy, do I have a plan!
Which is, Geech?
Well, it all starts with the lineout. We've got the best lineout jumper in the World in young Scott here. He didn’t make the Lions test teams, so has a score to settle with Johnson. England have a rookie hooker who can’t even decide wha’ his surname is, and by the time we’ve finished with him he won’t know the lineout codes either. Scotty, you’ll be at the front for the England throws. We know that on the defensive ones they’ll throw to Johnson, so that’s your ball. They’ve dropped Bigcock in favour of a new guy called Kay in as the second jumper. He’s Johnno’s mate at Leicester, so not in on merit. Believe it or not, his name’s Benedict. He’s the son of a judge, i.e. a posh git, - no offence, Simon- so Grimesy, you’ll take him out early and send him back to his mummy at half time. They don’t have a No. 8 who can jump, so I’m assuming that our own ball is a banker, OK?
Aye, Boss. No worries.
In the loose they’re no threat. Back- past it. Hill- who? Worsley? Poor second to Dayglo. Front row- too slow. Locks- they’ll be too busy trying to punch us.
Then there's the kicking. For two years running, Hodgy has scored all the points for us, so there’s no way I’m leaving him out. Christ, no other bugger can kick, so Hodgy, like last year you’ve got to kick every single penalty. I expect you to get more than one attempt this year.
Sure Boss, no sweat.
Right, from the set piece we've got most of the possession sorted out. What do we do with it? Last year you’ll remember that Fin Calder gave us some hints on the lad Balshaw. Fin’s view, you may remember, was that Balshaw was a Bath nancy-boy who couldn’t catch a cold. Well, Fin has been proved right, although unfortunately 3 months too late, and they’ve left Balshaw on the bench.
In his place they’ve put this guy Robinson. Now, you may have heard the rumours that he’s half Scottish, and his Mum’s frae Kirkintilloch, wherever that is. Well, be that as it may, we didnae want him in the Scottish team, because he cannae kick or pass. I’d rather trawl the world looking for second-rate kiwis whose grannies once had a fling with a Scottish sailor- no offence, Brendan, Glenn, Martin, - than take a chance on someone who sounds like he’s just got off Ilkley Moor.
Simon (he’s new and Naïve)
Er, Boss, are you no’ frae Leeds?
Shut the f**k up you, else it’s back to uni. for you. Anyway, I’ve been chatting to Sean Lineen, who’s given us some priceless gen on the England three-quarters. First, Robinson. Sean’s never seen him catch a ball under pressure before. So the plan is this: lineout ball, feed out to Hodgy, Hodgy puts up the garryowen, the rest of you run through onto this wee lad Robinson, give him a good rucking, nick the ball, spread it wide to Chris, and it’s music time.
Boss, isn’t this the same plan that we had last year?
Similar, laddie, I grant you, similar. But this year we’re at Murrayfield. When the first high ball goes up, the crowd will shout so loud that Robinson will freeze. The ball will be hanging up there, blowing all over the place in the freezing wind. It’ll be rabbit-in-the-headlamps time. You’ll have no difficulty.
As for the centres, they’ve left out Catt in favour of Tindall. So England now have two lumpy centres who, as Sean put it in his article yesterday, couldn’t pass the time of day. It’s the same old story of England- anyone with a bit of flair they leave out, and put in brawn ahead of brain. So Gregor, Jimmy, you’ve got to be right up on those two as soon as they sniff the ball. Gregor, we’ve been hearing good things about your tacking for Brive, so let’s ha’ plenty o’ tha’ today.
Finally, there’s Wilkinson. I’ve got a secret weapon for him. When he’s running up to take a kick in front of the main stand, ah’ve got big Taitie ready to shout “Miss it, Wilkinson, you big poof”.
Do you think that’ll work, Boss?
Should do- it always works on Hodgy.