Andy Robinson quits Scotland post
Andy Robinson bowed to the inevitable by resigning as Scotland head coach on Sunday.
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An angry Robinson warned there would be consequences of Saturday's 21-15 loss to Tonga and on Sunday morning his departure, announced by the Scottish Rugby Union, was the most significant of them.
The 48-year-old, who was under contract until the 2015 World Cup, clung to hope for the future following the 2011 World Cup pool stage exit and the 2012 RBS 6 Nations whitewash when his role was questioned.
After the abject showing in Aberdeen, Robinson decided enough was enough and exits with Scotland 12th in the provisional International Rugby Board world rankings after 10 losses in the last 13 Tests.
"I am very disappointed by our recent results but I have belief in the players to develop into a winning team," said Robinson, who was appointed in June 2009 as successor to Frank Hadden.
"I believe I have left the team in a better position than when I took over and have great confidence in the players and the coaches for the future."
In 35 Tests, Robinson oversaw 15 wins and 19 defeats, a win percentage of 42.9 per cent, but his competitive record was woeful.
The World Cup in New Zealand aside, two wins in 15 Six Nations matches meant a remarkable turnaround would have been required for Robinson to survive beyond next spring's tournament.
Following a disastrous spell as England head coach, Robinson found his reputation restored at Edinburgh and was persuaded to take the Scotland job.
Scotland beat Australia for the first time in 27 years in his second match in charge and similar results - in Argentina, against South Africa and Australia, again - masked continual failings which contributed to his downfall.
Robinson's belief that Scotland are stronger now than they were three-and-a-half years ago suggests the issues within Scottish rugby are deep-rooted and not something one man can resolve.
Scotland's two professional sides, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh, both come under the auspices of the SRU, while Robinson frequently bemoaned his players' inability to perform basic tasks which should be pre-requisites for any international.
The miserable 2011-12 season was revived in June, with wins in Australia, Fiji and Samoa.
In the three matches since, Scotland have lost 51-22 to New Zealand and 21-10 to South Africa before the Tonga debacle.
The search for his successor will begin immediately, with senior assistant coach Scott Johnson a contender.
Whether any others with the attributes required - for example, former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett or ex-New Zealand captain Todd Blackadder, who used to coach at Edinburgh and is now with the Crusaders - would risk their reputation for the challenge remains to be seen.
Johnson was appointed after Robinson decided to overhaul his coaching staff, with Gregor Townsend and Graham Steadman departing to be replaced by Johnson and another Australian, defence coach Matt Taylor.
The changes did not have the desired effect, but illustrated the former England and Bath flanker's influence in Scottish rugby.
Townsend was installed as Glasgow Warriors head coach in place of Sean Lineen, while Robinson was also influential in Neil Back joining Edinburgh as a coach and in signings made by Scotland's two professional teams.
The consequences of which Robinson spoke could be far and wide.
Scotland's next Test is the February 2 Six Nations opener with England at Twickenham.
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said: "Following the sequence of recent results during the EMC Autumn Tests a change in head coach is required to take the team forward and build towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
"I have passed on to Andy Scottish Rugby's thanks for his hard work and commitment during his term as national coach.
"Andy has overseen some fine results as Scotland head coach since he was appointed in June 2009 but the recent defeats have been very disappointing.
"Andy is an outstanding leader and a fine coach and we wish him well.
"I'd like to thank our fans for their great support during the Autumn Tests and look forward to welcoming them to Murrayfield for the home games against Italy, Ireland and Wales in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations."