Hadden keeps the faith
Head coach Frank Hadden is adamant Scotland have the ability to win the Six Nations.
Last Updated: 22/03/09 4:38pm
Head coach Frank Hadden is adamant Scotland have the ability to win the RBS Six Nations despite winning just two of their last 13 matches in the competition.
Scotland have finished in the bottom two five times in the last six years and Hadden's position has been called into question after Saturday's 26-12 defeat by England left them without a win at Twickenham since 1983.
Hadden insists he has the players at his disposal to claim Six Nations glory.
But the 54-year-old feels he has been hampered by the International Rugby Board regulation which has allowed countries with greater financial resources to make agreements for the release of players from their clubs.
"I honestly believe that we can win the championship with this squad," he said.
"It's not a level playing field and we'd love it to be more of one.
"It's not all about preparation, but you could say that Ireland and Wales are the two best-prepared teams because they have unquestionably had the longest time together over the last few years.
"The fact that they have the control over the players they do makes life much easier for them.
"The two teams with the poorest preparation are at the wrong end of the championship. That's a fact, there's absolutely no doubt.
"England have had eight weeks continuous preparation, whereas our guys have been going back and forward.
"Of course we've made progress because we've been together off and on, but it's got to be easier when you are together all that time. I know that for a fact because that's the way it used to be when I first started.
"After the World Cup I told everyone I was considering whether I could take this team on. The main reason I was thinking that was because of the preparation time."
Hadden's position will be scrutinised during the Scottish Rugby Union's review of the season.
Scotland again failed to meet the target of at least two wins and Hadden is ready to accept his fate, whatever that may be.
"One win out of five is obviously disappointing," he said. "We put ourselves in a position with 10 minutes to go against England where a really special upset was on the cards.
"You can't hide from the fact that we haven't won enough matches to be where we want to be, but it is extremely tough winning international rugby matches - the competition is white-hot and the margins are tiny.
"Ultimately we believe in the quality and the depth of the squad and we believe in the way we are preparing for matches. If that's judged not to be good enough we take that on the chin.
"I am proud of the progress we have made. We were the youngest team at the last World Cup and that was just two years ago. There is plenty of opportunity for this young squad to develop.
"I couldn't have been more excited about the opportunity this week. We felt we were starting to look slick in training, we were starting to show that we knew what we were trying to achieve.
"But I can't hide behind results. There are plenty of ways to measure progress, but ultimately that is the way the fans will measure it. I fully accept that."
Captain Mike Blair claimed the players are equally at fault, adding: "It's individual basic errors that are letting the opposition into the game.
"That's not something the coaching staff can deal with, that's for the players, and we're 100% behind the current coaching regime."