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Robinson not losing any sleep early at World Cup

Updated: September 11, 2011, 23:20


INVERCARGILL, New Zealand(AP) Maybe it's because he's already been involved in a Rugby World Cup-winning squad. Or perhaps it's because he's a former mathematics teacher with plenty of patience.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson, despite his reputation as a tough, compact competitor when he was a Bath and England flanker, is walking around New Zealand's southernmost city looking very relaxed despite a sputtering start to this World Cup campaign.

His seemingly constant grin and quick quips are even helping to brighten up the gloomy weather.

For Scotland, the situation could have been even gloomier if it hadn't scored two late tries to beat Romania 34-24 in its opening match. But Robinson is upbeat as ever heading into Scotland's second match Wednesday against Georgia.

"It's a cracking side that we've selected,'' Robinson enthused Monday when he announced 11 changes to his starting XV for the Georgia match.

But then a little bit of Robinson the fierce competitor comes out: "We need to be very physical and be able to smash the Georgians to the floor.''

Robinson is a former England assistant coach. After he linked up with Clive Woodward in May 2000, England won 41 of its next 50 matches and Robinson's expertise as forwards coach was generally credited with helping England extra-time win over Australia in the 2003 World Cup final.

He was happy to take a back seat to head coach, and now Sir Clive Woodward, in that World Cup, but seems even more pleased to be firmly in charge of Scotland at this one.

The 47-year-old Robinson coached England on his own for nearly three years, and became head coach of Scotland in June 2009, replacing Frank Hadden. Robinson has since led Scotland to victories over Australia and South Africa and a two-test victory over the Pumas in Argentina.

In February, he was rewarded with a contract extension that will see him coach Scotland until after the 2015 World Cup. He was previously contracted until the end of the 2012 Six Nations.

Along the way, he has helped move Scotland ahead of both Argentina and Ireland, which it has beaten twice, in the International Rugby Board rankings - Scotland is 7, Ireland 8 and Argentina 9.

Robinson said from the outset here that he'd use as many players as he could in Scotland's first two matches, and he has selected true to his word.

All of Scotland's backs will have played at least one match by the end of Wednesday and Robinson will have made use of 28 of his 30-man squad in Scotland's first two games. The two players still waiting to be selected are prop Moray Low and hooker Dougie Hall.

When Robinson walked into the post-match news conference after Scotland's close win over Romania, he was anything but tense.

"Interesting afternoon,'' he quipped, smiling, as he sat down. Asked how felt when Romania took a 24-21 lead with less than 10 minutes left, he replied: "I was looking forward to seeing how we were going to deal with it.''

Later he was told that some of the Scottish players had mentioned that they've never been through such tough training sessions leading into the World Cup.

"Rugby's a really tough game to play and you've got to be able to deal with the toughness of the game, the knocks, and still be able to get up and run,'' he said, again smiling. "You might be in pain but you've got to keep going for your teammates. That's what the regime has been - it's being relentless and being able to keep going for your teammates.''

With his philosophy out of the way, he was asked about his strategy.

He replied like only a former math teacher could: "Score more points than the opposition. The aim for us is to win the game and the rest of it takes care of itself.''

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