DEAN Ryan has revealed he was given the freedom of Edinburgh Castle for the day after helping Scotland to their Six Nations win over Italy.
The English forwards coach was surprisingly persuaded at the turn of the year to give up his role as a media pundit to join Scott Johnson in interim charge of Scotland following the resignation of Andy Robinson.
The 46-year-old is adamant his involvement will end at the conclusion of the Six Nations next weekend because of family reasons, no matter how the rest of the tournament pans out in the remaining games against Wales and France. However, while no-one would question the commitment of the imposing former Wasps and Newcastle No 8, Ryan has admitted he has still been able to enjoy some of the sights during his whirlwind stay in Edinburgh.
The ex-Bristol and Gloucester coach, who earned one of his four caps as a player at Murrayfield in the 34-20 win over Scotland, said: “I’ve been in pubs and restaurants and I’m the tourist guide for Edinburgh Castle, because everybody has been to visit me. I actually got in for free because we beat Italy. Somebody said ‘you’ve got to get in here for free’. My mother came up and (partner) Sian came up and I’ve just been saying ‘oh yes, Edinbugh Castle, it’s just over there!’ The city’s fantastic. All my previous experiences were of playing here, having a few beers and going home the next day, so you don’t actually experience it.
“It was about two weeks before I went out and saw it in the sunshine for the first time and I was discovering a new city. The Edinburgh thing has been fantastic. The people, the SRU have been great, which just makes the whole experience more worthwhile and enjoyable.”
What has also made Ryan’s brief return to coaching more pleasurable has been the back-to-back victories over Italy and Ireland. However, the straight-talking former army corporal has confessed that Scotland will have to produce a better performance against Wales, particularly in defence, this afternoon if they are to make it a hat-trick of Six Nations wins.
He added: “We’ve got to be better against Wales (than Ireland). Resolve and commitment won’t beat Wales but it’s given us a point to grow from and we’ve got a little bit of momentum.”