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Forget all the bluster, Scotland's World Cup ambition is blown down easily . . .

U LSTER took less than a month to expose the claims that the scale of Scotland's hammering in Wales was inevitable once Stuart Hogg was red carded after 22 minutes.

Let's face it, what confronted Ulster, and more particularly their management, in the Heineken Cup at Ravenhill last weekend was actually much more challenging than what Scotland had to deal with in Cardiff.

Unrestricted by national qualifications, Ulster's opponents in Europe's elite club competition can, after all, build squads of players better equipped to form the partnerships and units that fit their coaches' philosophies, with money the only object. Furthermore, those sides have much more time together so are supremely drilled and consequently have many more options through which to exploit undermanned opponents.

And how about the suggestions following Scotland's thrashing in the Millennium Stadium about how much more difficult it was to lose a full-back than to lose a forward?

Having made that assertion, then been challenged as to why he had not reacted by removing a forward and replacing him with Jack Cuthbert, a specialist full-back, head coach Scott Johnson apparently claimed his options were restricted by the earlier departure through injury of Kelly Brown. He was, incidentally, unable to get into the Saracens starting XV against Ulster last weekend.

Yet what did Ulster do on losing their full-back, Jared Payne? Funnily enough they too left their backs on the bench and kept their forwards on the pitch.

Ulster were also to lose Rory Best, an Ireland captain who is among their most important forwards, while their key back, Ruan Pienaar, was clearly hampered, having been hurried back from injury.

Given the relative scale of the problems posed, I would contend that the 14-man team that should have been ripped to shreds was Ulster. The team that should have been able to come up with a damage-limitation strategy - as Frank Hadden's team did in the same stadium six years ago when Scott Murray was dismissed against a much better Welsh team - was Scotland.

Yet where Scotland suffered a record defeat, Ulster came within a kick of the ball of reaching the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

Why drag all this up again? Simply because it is ever more vital to expose and analyse the bluff and bluster used routinely to deflect from and excuse the deficiencies of those individuals who informed the Scottish rugby community that winning the 2015 World Cup was an achievable target and those they have appointed to deliver on that purported objective.

Among their other highlights was, of course, the attempt to play hard ball with Clermont Auvergne over the recruitment of their head coach a year before he was available to them.

The French club could yet maximise its gains on calling the SRU if Vern Cotter has finally worked out how to turn one of Europe's most powerful squads into champions after eight years.

On which note, given those aforementioned selection restrictions, Vern is hopefully doing plenty of research on the resources available to him.

And Another Thing . . .

If it had not been so ridiculous it would have been funny when the Beeb's John Inverdale suggested last Sunday that, at two sets down in a Davis Cup quarter-final, Britain's No.1 tennis player ought to be thinking about Dunc Weir dropping a goal to grab victory from a superior Italy team that had out-played Murray's native Scotland.

Really? The Wimbledon and Olympic singles champion should seek inspiration from a frantic scramble to avoid yet another Wooden Spoon . . . I know you're obsessed with your rugby son but geeza break!

Then again old Invers apparently reckons that those of us who didn't know a boat race between two English Universities was on later that day - the contest had genuinely passed me by this year - live in caves.

No doubt the London luvvies had a lovely day while, a few cavities along from Murray's wee pothole at Cromlix House, I was lapping up proper sport as Kumar Sangakarra, a jaggy blighter who is among my favourite sportsmen, steered Sri Lanka to a shock win over odds-on favourites India in the World T20 final . . . on Sky!

And Finally . . .

Following the announcement that buildings which provided homes to thousands of families over the past 50 years will be demolished as entertainment for the masses as part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, I was texted a pertinent question.

"Demolition of Red Road flats as part of opening ceremony . . . are they demolishing the squash facility as part of the closing ceremony?"

The reference, of course, was to the show court that is being erected at a reported cost of £1.3m and then taken down again immediately after the Games. Given the money involved, the suspicion must be that the squash court will - for all sorts of reasons - be laid to rest in a rather quieter, if not necessarily any more dignified, manner.

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