Frank Hadden is confident about Scotland's ability to make an impression in the 2008 RBS 6 Nations.
The 53-year-old, who has just signed a new contract with the Scottish Rugby Union, says he expects the physical work the squad did over the summer in the build-up to the World Cup to pay dividends in the new year.
“One of the things which has happened to Scotland over the years is that we have been too frequently bullied, not only at the set-piece but also in the collisions which happen during the game, and we needed to stop that,” Hadden said.
“Now we have stopped that we are looking at other things like speed of reaction, skill and organisation.
“A lot of that should get better through guys playing together and maturing together as a group.”
Hadden continued: “We’ve got ourselves in the position as a side where we are difficult to play against, and I think that is a good start.
“I was really encouraged by the defensive performances of Edinburgh and Glasgow in the Heineken Cup last weekend, I thought they were as good as I have ever seen from them, and there is no doubt that its a very important thing to have right when you go into big games.
“We have a lot of confidence in our defence – and so we should.”
With Hadden agreeing to a performance-related, rolling contract with the Scottish Rugby Union, he knows that a better return than last year – when the Scots picked up the wooden spoon after winning only one match in the Six Nations – is going to be expected from this season’s tournament.
Otherwise he could find himself out of a job when his position is reviewed next November.
However, the Scotland coach says he is entirely happy with the terms of his new deal.
“I think it is important to know that I wasn’t looking for a longer-term thing,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean to say I want to leave within a certain period of time, but I think a rolling contract is entirely appropriate.
"You should have our performance reviewed at frequent intervals, and you shouldn’t just be a shoe-in for x number of years.”