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Scots are also-rans, say bookmakers

Apply the old truism that the bookies rarely get it wrong and it would seem that what has been viewed in Scotland as a favourable Rugby World Cup draw has made little impact on the perception of our national team's chances abroad.

Little more than an hour after the announcement was made, a press release dropped in from Ladbroke's citing specific odds for what they see as the top eight contenders of New Zealand (evens), South Africa (5/1), France (7/1), England 8/1, Australia 10/1, Wales 16/1, Ireland 16/1, Samoa 33/1 and 100/1 bar those.

The only mention of Scotland was in the pool by pool breakdown where they were being quoted at 16/1, the same odds as their Celtic rivals are to win the tournament.

Half an hour later and William Hill's odds arrived, apparently having made up for what seemed an obvious omission by their rivals by including another team ahead of the Samoans. They even quoted the team in question at half the odds to Scotland's pool rivals; however, it was Argentina they were citing at 33/1 to Samoa's 66/1. They still had Scotland at 100/1, albeit at least they gave them the dignity of being named rather than being lumped together with the expected also rans.

Another 10 minutes and in came the Paddy Power odds, pretty similar to William Hill's for the top nine, with Scotland still rank outsiders at 125/1. All of which stands well and truly at odds with the insistence of SRU senior executives that their strategic target of winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup remains achievable.

All in all, this surely presents Mark Dodson, the organisation's chief executive, with the chance to establish himself as a national hero. Maybe he and the board members who supported him in stating that target, which has invited widespread ridicule, really do know something that the rest of us do not in terms of how rapidly things are about to be turned around..

If so, what better opportunity could there be for the Mancunian to put his money where his mouth is and make a mockery of the critics than to show himself to be a man of true vision while proving himself right in the most spectacular fashion? One third of your annual wages might be a lot to gamble on a single bet but Dodson has stated that he is someone with the courage to take the big decisions. That being the case, if he was prepared to bet that much of the money he receives from the Scottish rugby community for doing his job at the odds being offered by Paddy Power he could, in the same instant that the World Cup is won by Scotland, clear the SRU debt in one single demonstration of his superior judgment.

Not since the man after whom the trophy is named, William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball and ran with it would any form of football have witnessed such a game changing moment.

Here's hoping he truly believes it is worth that sort of gamble.

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