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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Weir unfazed by Scots schedule

By Thomas McGuigan

Graeme Morrison of Scotland is tackled by Alun Wyn Jones during the Six Nations clash at Murrayfield

Scotland have six days to lick their wounds after the bruising defeat by reigning Six Nations champions Wales and tackle a wounded France in Paris.

Head coach Frank Hadden believes it is too short a period to get his charges prepared for their next challenge.

Winger Simon Webster and prop Geoff Cross were both withdrawn with concussion in the defeat by Wales and miss the trip to the Stade de France.

"It's difficult at the start of the Six Nations, you don't really get a lot of preparation time," Hadden told BBC Scotland.

"Obviously, we've got to make it quickly, which will be a tough ask: a six-day turnaround going to Paris, but I'm every confident we'll get better."

So, how difficult is it to get your side ready for the next Six Nations clash just six days after losing at Murrayfield?

"That's an incredibly tough thing to do," said Hadden. "But we have a bit of experience managing that. For example, in the World Cup we had to do two five-day turnarounds.

"I shared the sense of nervousness and anticipation that all the coaches had going into the first game of the Six Nations because, with the limited preparation time you've got, you're not sure what's going to happen," he added.

Former Scotland international Doddie Weir
For international rugby, if there was a two-day turnaround there are a lot of people willing to play for their country

Doddie Weir

"Perhaps it's no surprise that the three teams that won last week were the three which had a fortnight's preparation, compared with everyone else in the competition.

"But, our job now is to build on the preparation that we've got and make sure we give a much improved performance this weekend."

Doddie Weir, who starred for Scotland during the Five Nations, conceded that it would be physically demanding to lift the players for the game in Paris.

However, the former lock, who won 61 caps for Scotland, said there was less preparation time during his playing days.

"When we were involved, we'd meet up on the Wednesday night prior to an international. We'd play the international on the Saturday then go back to club training on the Sunday or the Monday," he told BBC Scotland.

"So, in my time we probably played more games. I was speaking to my mate Gary Armstrong and we played a game in Italy and then had to fly back that night for a game the next day with Newcastle in the cup.

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"It's a very difficult thing but it's down to the coach. If he has highlighted it, then it might turn against them because it could be in the back of the players' minds.

"Frank maybe has a point to be fair, considering the travelling and disruption to training."

Weir said fixture congestion was probably the biggest obstacle to extending the rest period between Six Nations games.

"The boys will want to get back in the ring again to try to make amends following last weekend," he said. "The defeat is still fresh in their minds, so they will know the areas of their game they want to work on.

"But in other ways, the two-week break ensures all the players are at their physical peak fitness and no excuses will be allowed.

"But the problem with doing that is trying to fit all the games in during the course of the season and that's difficult at the moment as it is."

So would the six-day turnaround faze Weir if he were to put on his boots again?

"Certainly not," he said. "For international rugby, if there was a two-day turnaround there are a lot of people willing to play for their country.

"From my own personal experience, we would just got on with it and gave it the best shot we've got."


Frank Hadden was speaking to BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin

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see also
Hines may miss all of Six Nations
12 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Scotland call for Evans brothers
11 Feb 09 |  Scottish
France lose Fritz to suspension
11 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Former players doubt Scotland XV
08 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Hadden stunned by sluggish Scots
08 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union


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