/ Six Nations 2014

Scotland must reshuffle back division

Updated: Monday, 05 Mar 2012 17:24

Rory Lamont's broken leg will mean a reshuffle
Rory Lamont's broken leg will mean a reshuffle

Scotland are tomorrow set to name their team for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations trip to Ireland, but the main questions surround the future of head coach Andy Robinson.

Wholesale changes are unlikely following Scotland's match with France on February 26, which was lost 23-17, extending the winless streak to five Tests for the first time since 2004 and giving Robinson a record of two wins from 13 Six Nations matches in charge.

Asked afterwards about the damning record and if he might resign after the tournament due to the results, Robinson, who has a contract until after the 2015 World Cup, pointedly did not give a direct answer to the question, instead insisting he retained belief in his players.

It was far from convincing to those observers who believe Robinson has overseen mass improvement since his appointment in 2009 and that Scotland are on the cusp of delivering on their promise under the former England boss.

Only Robinson knows of his intentions post-tournament and whether he will lead Scotland to their summer tour of Australia, Fiji and Samoa, but the players can help to ensure his future by emulating their only win of the 2010 Six Nations with victory in Dublin.

On that occasion - Ireland's last Test at Croke Park before returning to their Aviva Stadium home at Lansdowne Road - Scotland triumphed with a stirring display to avoid the Wooden Spoon.

Two years on, Scotland again travel across the Irish Sea in search of a first win of the tournament, with the possibility of a Wooden Spoon decider in Italy on 17 March unless victory is claimed.

At least one change from the loss to Les Bleus is certain after wing Rory Lamont suffered a broken leg at Murrayfield.

The absence of the Glasgow Warriors back could result in a straightforward swap - with Nick De Luca coming in at outside centre and Sean Lamont moving to the wing, as happened against France.

The alternative is numerous changes in a bid to get the back line to fire, with centre De Luca likely to start as Joe Ansbro (back) is yet to return for London Irish.

Max Evans could return on the wing or at outside centre after missing the France game with an ankle problem.

The 28-year-old former Glasgow Warriors player was today cleared of glassing a man in an Edinburgh nightclub in August 2010.

Evans was found not guilty of assaulting Alasdair McCaig to his severe injury and permanent impairment, after a five-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Wing Lee Jones and full-back Stuart Hogg are likely to continue after notching their debut tries against Les Bleus, while Graeme Morrison is again set to start at inside centre.

Greig Laidlaw is likely to continue at fly-half providing he has met the concussion protocols following his head knock against France. Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson are in contention for the reserve place.

Mike Blair is set to continue at scrum-half behind a forward pack which, barring an untimely injury, is unlikely to be altered after going toe to toe with France.

That means Geoff Cross is set to continue at tighthead prop ahead of Euan Murray, who does not play in Sundays so missed the last two Tests. Flanker John Barclays is making good progress in his recovery from a dead leg.

Glasgow prop Ed Kalman required stitches above his eye and hooker Dougie Hall suffered shoulder bruising during the RaboDirect PRO12 match against Ospreys on Friday, while Sale number eight Richie Vernon (shoulder) is undergoing treatment.

The 22 who were on duty in Paris were joined in training by Glasgow trio Robert Harley, Jackson and Jon Welsh, Matt Scott (Edinburgh) and Murray (Newcastle).

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