Hadden glad to end bad week

Frank Hadden admits the build-up to the Six Nations Championship game with England was the worst week of his reign as Scotland coach. [more]

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Frank Hadden admits the build-up to the Six Nations Championship game with England was the worst week of his reign as Scotland coach.

Defeats in Scotland’s first three matches in this season’s championship left the former Edinburgh coach under tremendous pressure as the prospect of presiding over successive wooden spoon campaigns loomed large.

Reports had even emerged on the morning of the Calcutta Cup match that the Scottish Rugby Union were looking at alternative candidates to assume the reins of the national side.

But a virtually perfect defensive performance nullified the threat of the World Cup finalists while Chris Paterson and Dan Parks landed five penalties out of five to secure the victory.

Brian Ashton’s side were tackled into submission in a manner reminiscent of Scotland’s win in 2006 and had only three penalties from Jonny Wilkinson to show for their efforts.

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He said: "The build-up to the game was the least enjoyable week I’ve had as Scotland coach, there’s no doubt about that.

"I know how important it is for Scotland to do well. We’re not the biggest country in the world and we don’t have huge resources but the national team is the flagship for Scottish rugby. And we have to do well.

"We had to win on Saturday to sustain the momentum we have and by that I mean the number of young kids who are coming through. By our standards there is an incredible amount of young talent in our midst.

"It would have been suicide to put them in against England and it was good we had a slightly more experienced side on Saturday with Simon Taylor, Jason White and even Craig Smith returning.

"It’s absolutely vital that these guys keep the wins ticking over as the young guys come through and begin to make their impact."

Hadden paid tribute to his back three for the efficient way they fielded the high balls which rained down on them from Wilkinson and Toby Flood.

He singled out Hugo Southwell for particular praise after the full-back responded to the disappointment of dropping a simple early catch to produce a near-faultless display for the remainder of the match.

"I was really pleased with how we dealt with the high ball – because they put a fair few up there and they were good high balls which we had to catch under a lot of pressure.

"The best thing about Hugo’s performance was that he fumbled his first one. That’s when you need bottle, to come back from that situation.

"There were other cameo moments and I thought the way we defended the two early driving mauls on our line was crucial. There’s no doubt the game would have been different if England had scored then.

"Although they eventually kicked a penalty to make it 3-3 it was really 1-0 to us. That was really important."

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