Rugby Union : Paterson hurt by Scotland benching

31st January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Chris Paterson said he was "massively disappointed" following coach Frank Hadden's dramatic decision to drop him to the bench for Scotland's Six Nations opener against France

   EDINBURGH, January 31, 2008  - Chris Paterson said he was "massively
disappointed" following coach Frank Hadden's dramatic decision to drop him to
the bench for Scotland's Six Nations opener against France at Murrayfield here
on Sunday.
   The 29-year-old has proved himself one of the most reliable goalkickers in
international rugby union and during last year's World Cup landed a faultless
17 out of 17 shots at goal.
   But the outside-half has struggled for first-team action following a
pre-season move from Edinburgh, when the club were involved in a bitter
dispute with the Scottish Rugby Union, to English Premiership leaders
   "I'm massively disappointed," Paterson told Scottish Television after
Hadden's team announcement here Wednesday.
   "I'm a proud person who wants to be out there and wants to be playing.
   "But I've got a huge role to fill this week as a replacement."
   He added: "It's still difficult to take as a player and as a person who
wants to be out there as much as possible.
   "It's a challenge for me.
   "I've been lucky so far to not have experienced this and there'll be a lot
of eyes looking at me to see how I react."
   Paterson has played in several different positions behind the scrum for
Scotland since making his Test debut in 1999 and last season captained his
country in the absence of now fit-again back-row Jason White.
   During the World Cup he was played on the wing, with Hadden opting for
Australia-born Dan Parks, who retains the No 10 jersey this weekend, at
   Paterson, whose 614 points for Scotland from 81 appearances leave him
second only to legendary full-back Gavin Hastings in his country's list of
all-time leading scorers, made it clear he saw his Test future as a fly-half
but added he would be happy to play international rugby in any position.
   "Frank says he'll still consider me everywhere," said Paterson.
   "They (Gloucester) view me 90 percent as a 10 and want to develop me there
along with the good players they have there," explained Paterson, forced to
play second fiddle for much of this season with the south-west club behind
England prospect Ryan Lamb.
   "So in many ways it looks as though I'm moving towards the stand-off
position but I'd still like to offer myself anywhere.
   "If I can be in a starting position in the back three I'd quite happily
start there."
   Hadden, explaining his decision to relegate Paterson to a position among
the replacements, said: "There were a number of factors we considered, and
game time was one of them.
   "We've named him as reserve stand-off which is where he is currently
playing, and we see him having a big impact on the game on Sunday.
   "I firmly believe that he is integral to us winning the game this weekend."
   Hadden insisted Glasgow's Parks was good enough not to make Scotland rue
his move to relegate Paterson to the bench.
   "I've always had a lot of faith in Dan Parks," said Hadden. "He has taken
quite a long time to win people over in the country, a lot longer than he took
to win me over.
   "We considered very carefully Chris's outstanding goal-kicking performance
in the World Cup but the last time I looked Dan was on 81 percent, which would
make him second best goal-kicker in the English Premiership."


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