Travelling a third of the way round the world to face Italy in the tropical heat of Singapore is a unique experience for everyone involved but for one youngster in the Scottish side it is a particularly exciting time.
Ali Price, the Glasgow Warriors scrum half, cheerfully admits it was injuries to others which won him him his chance. When he got it, though, he grabbed it wth the kind of panache that marked him out as one for the future.
When the team for the Test is announced, there won’t be many surprises and certainly not at scrum half.
New Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend had shown his faith in Price by starting him in most of Glasgow’s big games last season, and with both moving up to international level, the faith is unchanged.
This is the case across the board. Continuity from the Vern Cotter era – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – is a key part of Townsend approach to this summer tour.
There are enough changes being forced on him to make it pointless to add any that he does not have to make.
“A year ago, I never thought I would be in the position I’m in,” Price said. “Did I want to be in this position? Yes. It’s about taking that chance or opportunity. Every day, when I’m training i’m trying to get better.
“Injuries have helped me. But when you are given that chance it is up to you to go out and make the most of it.
“I feel that with every game, at whatever level, I’m getting more confident, more used to the environments I’m in. I’m trying not to be fazed by anything. I’m enjoying playing and I know the guys around me.
“I’m doing it with my mates and they’ve made it easy for me. Finn [Russell, stand-off] and I get on really well and he’s been at 10 for all my Scotland games so far.”
Another thing that makes it special for Price is that this is the first proper tour he has been on at any level. He has experienced trips within Europe to play one-off games and the odd preseason camp in places such as Clermont-Ferrand, but has never been on a serious multi-match tour.
He added: “It’s all new. I’ve never been to Australia, never been this far east. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.
“You’ve got to remember though that you have got a game to win. That’s the important bit. As Gregor [Townsend] said to us, we’re not here to get a tan. You get time off, but you have to be wary because there is a bigger prize.”
Arguably, the real breakthrough for Price came when Mike Blair, Scotland’s most capped scrum half, moved into a full-time coaching role at Glasgow Warriors and took him under his belt.
Price added: “Mike has been awesome with me in terms of my skills, technical stuff with kicking and passing, and even how I approach breakdowns.
“He has gone through every game I’ve played for the last year, analysing it afterwards. It’s also his knowledge and the experiences he has had. Until you are in certain positions and seen certain scenarios on the pitch, you don’t know how you will react. He’s one of the guys who has been there and done it ten times over in pretty much every situation.”
Blair will certainly be in a position to help with advice on how to cope with the heat, since he was with Scotland on the 2012 tour to Fiji and Samoa, which are, if anything, even hotter than Singapore.
Price said: “We said at the first session ‘yeah it is hot, but what can we do about it? It is going to he hot, hot for them, hot for everyone’. We have not really mentioned since then.
“We are battling [the heat], we are sure the other team is battling. It is a new challenge, none of us have played in Singapore – a couple in the Sevens, maybe, but no fifteens – but it is a new challenge for the Italians as well.
“We are not going to come off the field using the heat as an excuse; it is something we have to get our heads around and adapt to. It is something everyone has to deal with and we are all in good shape.
“The last month of training has set us up for this. We’ve been doing our saunas and everything we can to try to adapt and make it as easy as it can be.”