Hadden takes home comfort
Scotland boss expects more players to follow Cusiter's lead
Last Updated: 28/01/09 5:21pm
Frank Hadden believes more of his leading players will follow international scrum-half Chris Cusiter's lead by returning to play their rugby in Scotland.
"The introduction of professional rugby has not necessarily been kind to the countries with smaller resources, and we've had to fight really hard to keep touch with the big boys of world rugby."
Frank Hadden Quotes of the week
Aberdeen-born Cusiter will move from Perpignan to Glasgow later this year, giving Scottish rugby a huge boost as head coach Hadden continues to develop his Test squad.
With the 2009 RBS Six Nations kicking off on February 7 and the 2011 World Cup a future goal, Hadden is hopeful more Scotland internationals will make the switch back home.
"We've taken steps to try and get more of the players playing outside Scotland back into Scotland," said Hadden.
"Chris Cusiter is coming back, and we hope to be able to add to that.
"It would not only enhance our two professional teams (Glasgow and Edinburgh), but give us an opportunity to continue preparing throughout the weekends instead of a significant number of our squad having to play club matches.
"We want to try and get more of our players back into Scotland.
"That is expensive, and we are not as well financially-resourced as some, but it is something we've got to try to do if we want to improve our quality of preparation.
"Obviously, we want to make the most of the potential of the good crop of players we've got at the moment."
Hadden also praised the way his side competed with southern hemisphere superpowers South Africa and New Zealand during two hard-fought contests in the Autumn.
"The introduction of professional rugby has not necessarily been kind to the countries with smaller resources, and we've had to fight really hard to keep touch with the big boys of world rugby," he said.
"Certainly, it gives me a lot of pleasure that in some ways we've narrowed the gap.
"The important thing is to become more competitive in all the key areas of your game - scrummage, lineout, contact area, defence, kicking, line-breaking and quality of decision-making - and I am satisfied we have made progress.
"The ball bounces in strange ways, and against South Africa in November, for example, we probably didn't deserve to be 10-0 up at half-time.
"We played much better in the second half - and lost 14-10. It's just the nature of the beast when there are two well-matched sides hitting seven bells out of each other, there can only be one winner in the end."
Scotland can make an immediate statement of intent in the upcoming RBS Six Nations Championship, with their opening game against reigning champions Wales on February 8.
The Wales clash is one of three in Edinburgh, but Hadden is also undeterred by trips to Paris and Twickenham.
And, after Glasgow and Edinburgh both recorded Heineken Cup victories over Toulouse and Castres in France, Hadden insists his squad know what it takes to win away from Murrayfield.
"Getting off to a fast start is obviously important in a competition of this nature," added Hadden.
"The important thing is that we get ourselves in a position where we are in the mix on the last Saturday of the championship.
"It is really important that both Edinburgh and Glasgow won in France this season.
"There is no doubt that winning is the most important ingredient for the development of confidence and self-belief that you need for international rugby.
"We've got more depth in the squad and more competition for places, and we've every right not to be frightened of going to places like Stade de France and Twickenham."