Hadden fears World Cup crisis

Scotland head coach Frank Hadden claims next month's World Cup could suffer and his own squad could be left threadbare because of the rule allowing each country to take just 30 players to the tournament. [more]

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Scotland head coach Frank Hadden claims next month’s World Cup could suffer and his own squad could be left threadbare because of the rule allowing each country to take just 30 players to the tournament.

Hadden confirmed the make-up of his squad on Tuesday, with stand-off Gordon Ross notable for his omission as Chris Paterson and Rob Dewey were chosen to contest the crucial role.

He was quick to point to the danger of members of his squad sustaining injuries, and fears there is a very real danger of teams being forced to mix and match in order to get 15 fit players on the pitch.

"There should be 33 or 34 players in the squad," said Hadden.

"It took the Heineken Cup guys a while to work out that for the product to be enhanced you need more people available, and then some of the harder decisions could be made a lot easier.

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"As it is, there are huge elements of risk everywhere in the squad. The regulations say you can’t bring anyone fresh in within 48 hours [before your next match].

"So imagine if Kelly Brown were to go down ill the night before a match – as he did before the French game earlier this year – and you are already carrying a few injuries in the back row. You’d be stuffed – absolutely stuffed.

"We have to try to have as much cover as we possibly can, but with only 30 guys we can’t cover everywhere.

"I’d be very surprised if the other coaches didn’t feel the same way as I do on this issue."

While the tendency among the other competing nations has been to select 16 forwards and 14 backs in their initial squads, Hadden has opted for a 17-13 split.

He believes Scotland’s hectic schedule – which sees them take on Romania, New Zealand then Italy within an 11-day period – will have a particularly punishing effect on his pack.

"It is something we talked about for a long time," Hadden explained, "but in the end the string of games so close together meant we had to err on the forward side, and take into account the pressure they are going to be under during these few games."

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