Feel good factor must aid Scots

Lions legend Jim Telfer hopes Scotland can take a 'feel good factor' into their World Cup preparations. [more]

Feel good factor must aid Scots

Lions legend Jim Telfer hopes Scotland can take a ‘feel good factor’ into their World Cup preparations.

The Scots lost their first four Six Nations fixtures but Telfer believes victory over Italy on Saturday afternoon could lead to a repeat of a last year’s impressive run of results.

Andy Robinson’s men failed to win any of their opening four fixtures last season but a surprise final-day triumph over Ireland was followed by a further four victories in five matches in the later part of 2010.

“Scotland finished the 2011 6 Nations season with a morale boosting win against Italy on Saturday, just as they had done in the corresponding match in 2010 when they beat Ireland,” Robinson told STV.

“It's been a long, hard road over the last seven weeks with more bumps than smooth rides but on Saturday, Scotland finally put together a performance that contained commitment, attacking flair and clinical execution.

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“Andy Robinson will hoping that the feel good factor resulting from the win will act as a spur as the players start to prepare for the World Cup later in the year in New Zealand. The victory in Ireland in 2010 certainly helped because later in the Summer and Autumn Series, the players went onto beat Argentina, South Africa and Samoa.”

Telfer, who represented the Lions as both a player and a coach, was particularly impressed with a trio of Scotland’s newest stars.

Glasgow lock Richie Gray, fly-half Ruaridh Jackson and Northampton centre Joe Ansbro all made valuable contributions, although Telfer admits there is still plenty of room for improvement in other aspects of Scotland’s play.

“Richie Gray continues to impress and along with Jackson has been the find of the season,” added Telfer, a former Scotland coach.

“At this time last season, Dan Parks was absolutely crucial to Scotland's wellbeing but now has only a cameo part in proceedings.

“Of the other young newcomers, Joe Ansbro looks a good player but so far he hasn't stayed long enough on the field to be accurately assessed.

“But it should be remembered that Italy are at least three places below us in the World rankings and have consistently been at the bottom of the 6 Nations placings.

“Every team aims to get a good start but circumstances often dictate what will happen. On Saturday, Scotland did just that, coverting a penalty after four minutes of sustained pressure and controlling possession for the first quarter, helped enormously by winning the first three Italian line out throws. Maybe their superiority was also helped by the fact that there were no scrums until the twenty sixth minute.

“However after only ten minutes, Scotland still allowed the Italians to breach their defensive line and score a simple try by their dangerman Andrea Massi.

“Although Sean Lamont has given the team plenty of "go forward" when he has the ball, I've yet to see him take and give a pass to his outside centre. At the moment, he doesn't pass, he offloads.

“The Scottish back division isn't blessed with good passers, Jackson being the exception, and it was good to see (Chris) Paterson being used as a second receiver outside Jackson to give added width to our attack.”

Next up for Scotland are World Cup warm-up fixtures with Ireland on August 6 and Italy on August 20 before their opening tournament clash with Romania in Invercargill on September 10.

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