Scotland coach Frank Hadden steps down

Frank Hadden has quit as Scotland's rugby coach after another poor campaign in the Six Nations. The Scots ended the tournament in fifth place after a lone victory over Italy, and have now finished in the bottom two in five of the last six events.


AFP - Frank Hadden stepped down as coach of the Scotland national rugby union team with immediate effect on Thursday following another disappointing Six Nations.

Scotland finished fifth in this season's championship and for the second season in a row won just one of their five matches, against fellow strugglers Italy.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie said: "Following a presentation at today's Scottish Rugby Board, covering a review of the Scotland performance in the Six Nations Championship, it was agreed with Frank Hadden that a change in head coach is required to allow us to plan fully for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand."

McKie added: "On behalf of the Board, I have thanked Frank for his hard work and commitment during his term as national coach."

The statement added that the recruitment process for a new head coach would begin with immediate effect but also held out the possibility that former Edinburgh boss Hadden might still be involved in the Scotland set-up in some other capacity.

"Discussions are ongoing with Frank Hadden in relation to his future with Scottish Rugby," the statement said.

Hadden's exit came as little surprise following another poor Scotland campaign in the Six Nations.

For the third straight season Scotland failed to achieve their own minimum target of two wins in the Championship.

They have now finished in the bottom two five times in the last six years, the same record as perennial makeweights Italy.

Hadden's final game in charge, last month's 26-12 Calcutta Cup loss to England at Twickenham, was Scotland's twelfth defeat in their last 16 matches.

Afterwards, he caused a stir by saying Scotland's current players could win the Six Nations if only they had sufficient preparation time.

"I honestly believe that we can win the championship with this squad," he said.

"We have a squad of players that is capable of being very competitive at the very highest level but I am frustrated we don't get the preparation time we want."

Hadden repeatedly cited Scotland's difficulties in dealing with the revised International Rugby Board regulation on Test match player release as a contributory factor to their poor form.

England's agreement with their Premiership clubs allows them to keep domestic-based players in camp for the whole Six Nations.

However, nine members the Scotland's matchday 22 that featured against England play for overseas teams who have no special agreements.

"There is absolutely no doubt that it's got to be easier when you have the players for eight continuous weeks like England have, whereas our guys go back and forth," said Hadden.

"The two teams with the poorest preparation (Scotland and Italy) are at the wrong end of the championship. That's a fact."

Scotland captain Mike Blair said Hadden and his backroom staff could not shoulder the blame for the team's poor results.

"It's individual basic errors that are letting the opposition into the game," the scrum-half said. "That's not something the coaching staff can deal with. That's for the players to deal with."

Hadden though did not always help his own cause with some curious selections. For example, at the start of the Six Nations he left world-class goalkicker Chris Paterson and dashing centre Max Evans on the bench.

Hadden was appointed Scotland coach on a full-time basis in September 2005 following the unsuccessful reign of Matt Williams, which saw the side win just three - against Samoa, Japan and Italy - of a possible 17 Tests during the Australian's time in charge.

Victory over France in Hadden's first Six Nations match offered the hope of better days ahead but consistent success has continued to elude Scotland.


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