Club form can send Scotland into Six Nations confident

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  • Gregor Townsend
    Scottish rugby union footballer and coach

Glasgow forwards coach Nigel Carolan is confident the showings of the two Scottish club sides can give the national side hope ahead of the Six Nations.

Edinburgh are currently top of the United Rugby Championship table while the Warriors are in the top four, after weekend wins over Cardiff and Ospreys.

There were also big wins in Europe for the Scottish pair just before Christmas, with Glasgow defeating Exeter and Edinburgh prevailing away to Saracens.

Boost for Six Nations

Irishman Carolan feels the sense of buoyancy at the two clubs can only be of benefit to national team coach Gregor Townsend as the Scots prepare to kick off their Six Nations campaign at home to England on February 5.

He said: “Gregor’s now got two teams that are playing a brand of rugby that complements the national team. Both teams have got the ambition to play but they’re also able to back it up with execution.

“We got five tries at the weekend and Edinburgh got five tries as well, both against really gritty defensive Welsh teams.

“It’s great when the two teams are performing consistently well. I think that bodes well for the Six Nations.

“It won’t be easy but if Scotland can carry on the form of the two club sides, there are scalps to be had.”

Carolan admits Glasgow are spoiled for choice in terms of personnel and he feels that depth of talent is reflected in the Scotland set-up.

He said: “Just as we’re building depth internally, Gregor is building depth nationally with Scottish players and it’s great to see. I think having a very competitive national side is filtering down into the two clubs.

“I think we all have to complement each other. There’s a beauty in being kind of smaller in terms of only having the two teams, as long as there’s synergy or alignment between the three entities: the national team and the two clubs.”

Reflecting on his own team’s depth, Carolan said: “We still have guys like Jack Dempsey, Rufus McLean, Richie Gray and George Horne to try and accommodate, who weren’t involved at the weekend, so we’re starting to build a good bit of depth.

“It’s really healthy because, as coaches, when you have depth and confidence, we’re not really too bothered what team we select because we know everybody can perform for us.”

World Rugby urged to follow RFL return-to-play lead

World Rugby has been advised to follow the example of rugby league in the battle to reduce the effect of repeated head knocks in the sport.

The Rugby Football League has opted to extend return-to-play protocols which mean players who fail concussion tests in games or at training must now wait at least 11 days before playing again.

That has been increased from seven days while in elite rugby union the minimum requirement remains at six.

Progressive Rugby, a lobby group formed to lead the bid to tackle the issue of serious head and brain injury, is hoping the move will prompt officials of the 15-man code to take similar action.

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