31 Jan O’Halloran | Backs in form but work still to be done
Backs coach Jason O’Halloran insists his side are far from finished article despite increasing levels praise for his charges at a domestic level in the build up to the RBS 6 Nations championship.
The national team start their campaign against Ireland this Saturday at BT Murrayfield and expectations are high following strong autumn test performances, the success of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby in Europe, combined with ‘flattering’ comments from ex- Scotland cap and coach Jim Telfer, who claimed this Scotland team is the best since they won the title in 1999.
O’Halloran said: “It’s a flattering comment but it doesn’t give us any points when we start against Ireland. What it does give us is a bit more confidence, which is crucial for the trust element in these big games.
“We’ve still got a lot more of room for improvement and what I like about that is that it gives individuals the scope to express themselves and keep learning and using new skills.
“For me the ability to keep learning and growing your skill-set is crucial to the harmony of the team.”
O’Halloran said that the preparations and the mood of the camp had been similar to that of their autumn campaign, in which they beat Georgia and Argentina and narrowly lost to the Australia.
“The excitement and the intensity is something that was crucial to the success of the autumn campaign,” he added.
“The boys are really excited to express themselves and play rugby so if we can have that same level of excitement for this campaign then we won’t die wondering.”
With the Lions tour coming in the Summer he believes that a strong team performance will prove most important in terms of individual selections hopes.
“It’s a platform for everyone in a Lions season but ultimately we can’t promote individuals unless the team does well.
“You can win as many individual matches up as you like but if you don’t win the game your less likely to get individuals promoted so our focus is having a good campaign as a team and that will help promote individuals.”