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Matt Williams: Scotland aren’t great but they have X factor


Matt Williams reckons that the current Scotland team is the best there has been in 20 years, but does not consider them to be a “great side”.

The Virgin Media pundit was Scotland’s head coach between December 2003 and April 2005, and oversaw one Six Nations win and nine losses in the 2004 and 2005 championships.

While Williams acknowledged that the current Scotland team are a better outfit than the side he coached, he doesn’t believe they should be called a “great side”.

“You’ve got to say this about this Scottish team – it’s not a great side but it’s the best Scottish side I’ve seen in 20 years,” Williams started.

“For exactly what Ronan [O’Gara] said. There are players right across the board that are quality. Usually when you coach a Scotland side as I have done… Ian McGeechan gave me advice once.

“He said, ‘You’re going to have between seven and 11 test players. It’s what you do with those others and how you bring them up to standard.'”


‘There’s not an awful lot of holes in that team’

The Australian noted that the advice given to him no longer applies to this Scottish team, stating there are very few weakness in Gregor Townsend’s starting 15.

“When you play a quality side like Ireland have had over the last 20 years it’s exceptionally difficult, as the stats show.


“But now through recruitment and development they have quality players across the 15. They fall off a bit on the bench but the starting 15 – there’s not an awful lot of holes in that team. And there is some X factor.

“Which is very, very rare in the Scots since the late ’90s.”

While Ireland have won the last five encounters between themselves and Scotland, the Scots will be confident they can get one over Andy Farrell’s side at Murrayfield on Sunday.

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