Beattie: New caps more important than defeats

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SCOTLAND forward Johnnie Beattie insists blooding fresh talent was more important than two defeats suffered in the team’s summer tour of South Africa.

Scott Johnson’s men suffered their first ever defeat by Samoa in the Quad Series opener in Durban before putting on a brave show as they lost to the hosts in Nelspruit.

Scotland forward Johnnie Beattie. Picture: TSPL

Scotland forward Johnnie Beattie. Picture: TSPL

A whitewash was avoided in the third-place play-off with Italy as Alasdair Strokosch darted over for a last-ditch try to secure a narrow 30-29 win at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

But on the positive side, ten uncapped players were given their first taste of international action. And Montpellier No 8 Beattie believes that will prove priceless as the squad gears up for the World Cup in two years’ time.

The 24-time capped forward said: “The main thing was to try and win the three games we had but we were also there to broaden our base of players and introduce some young kids into the squad. Individually, it was important to see how those boys got on.

“As Johnno [Scott Johnson] said, we were happier with our performance against South Africa but lost the game. We won against Italy but were disappointed with our performance. We got one victory in the end but it was more important to see how those guys got on. That was where the value of the tour was.”

Edinburgh full-back Greig Tonks and the Glasgow Warriors duo of centre Alex Dunbar and hooker Pat MacArthur earned their first Scotland honours by starting against the Samoans, while Tonks’ Edinburgh team-mate Steven Lawrie, Warriors’ Peter Horne and Duncan Taylor of Saracens made their international bows from the bench.

The Glasgow trio of full-back Peter Murchie, wing Tommy Seymour and lock Tim Swinson then started against South Africa.

And their Scotstoun colleague Fraser Brown rounded off the list of ten new caps when he replaced Scott Lawson at hooker in the final game against the Azzurri.