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Hall: injection of new talent is a real lift for us

DOUGIE HALL hopes the new faces in the camp can kick-start Scotland's fortunes and shake off his guilt over Andy Robinson's departure.

Geoff Cross and Johnnie Beattie at yesterday's training session. Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA
Geoff Cross and Johnnie Beattie at yesterday's training session. Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA

The Warriors hooker admits he found it difficult to deal with Robinson's resignation in the wake of the 21-15 defeat to Tonga at Pittodrie in November.

But he knows he and his international team-mates have to move on and he feels positive vibes have already been felt under Scott Johnson, Scotland's interim coach, whose training camp in Glasgow this week involved 10 uncapped players.

Hall said of the change of head coach: "It certainly gives you a bit of a kick up the backside. Everything starts from a new viewpoint. You are impressing a new man up top. But it's great to have the young guys in because they always bring in a bit of a bounce and they are really excited to be here. They remind you of how much of a privilege it is to be at a Scotland training camp."

On Robinson's departure, the 32-year-old added: "It hit home pretty hard at the time. We played Tonga and were obviously very down about the result, and Robbo announced straight after it that he was leaving. It was quite sudden and it was quite apparent we had effectively lost him his job.

"For me personally, I can say it was a difficult thing to deal with. Now we have to focus on moving forward. We have to go strive to get better because we weren't good enough in the autumn and that is effectively what cost Robbo his job. We prepared well for every game and went out to win but it just wasn't happening. We have to reload and go again and get it right this time."

Hall, who is aiming to win his 40th cap when Scotland open their RBS 6 Nations campaign against England at Twickenham a week on Saturday, has been impressed with Johnson.

The Glasgow forward said: "He's a great character and very good communicator and we are really looking forward to seeing how he is going to implement all of his thoughts on the game.

"It's still very new and I think it will take a while to get to understand what he and Dean Ryan want us to do as a group, but that is exciting as well. It freshens it up and we'll see how that takes us forward."

The Australian coach is a plain-speaking character and Hall believes that is exactly what Scotland need as they look to improve on last season's Six Nations whitewash.

"He won't miss the wall if he is trying to hit it, that's for sure," Hall said. "That's what you need, though. You have to be very honest in this job, with yourself and with each other. If you're not, you won't make any progress."

Johnnie Beattie and David Denton had some involvement training yesterday but were still hampered by injury. Beattie showed up with a wrist problem following Montpellier's Heineken Cup win over Toulon last Saturday while Denton failed a fitness test on his knee ahead of Edinburgh's European match against Saracens.

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