Pro12 keeping Josh Strauss from dreaming of Scotland

Josh Strauss: Focus on Glasgow. Picture: SNS
Josh Strauss: Focus on Glasgow. Picture: SNS
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WITH Scotstoun being prepared for tomorrow’s Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s, the Glasgow Warriors squad were through at BT Murrayfield yesterday to hone their preparations for tonight’s Guinness Pro12 showdown with Ospreys in south Wales.

It is a stadium we may well see Josh Strauss gracing in the dark blue of Scotland next year after the South African back-rower qualifies on residency in September – one day after the Rugby World Cup kicks off.

“It’s not up to me really,” said the heavily-bearded Strauss yesterday when asked about that prospect. “My focus is on the Warriors. If we do well and win the competition and stay fit then yeah, hopefully, the best comes around.”

Strauss will skipper Glasgow in Swansea tonight as the table-topping Warriors continue their push for a home semi-final and the No 8 is relishing the leadership role.

“Al [Kellock] is very much the captain. Even although he is 24th man, he talks in huddles because he is such a great motivator. It comes naturally to him. People follow him. The boys follow him completely.

“I am part of the leaders group and Al calms you down, makes it easy and you still look up to him as captain.

“You might be doing the talking but he is a great presence around us. Al is striving to make the team but has been unlucky over the last few months through injuries.

“His focus is to get fit and be eligible for the [Guinness Pro12] play-offs.”

Ospreys lie fourth but only four points behind the leaders and have their own aspirations. Strauss says the players know it will be a testing game.

“I have been here three years and they [Ospreys] have always been one of the best teams,” he said. “We have had a good record against them and want to replicate what we have done in the past, be aggressive, really in their face.

“It would be that much more special for us to win this week.

“The big motivation is to win to get a home semi.

“Playing in front of the Scotstoun faithful is brilliant. That is what we are striving towards and we are a step closer to that.”

With Ulster at home to come next week, it could hardly be a more challenging final set of fixtures for the Warriors but Strauss reckons that will help the side go into the play-offs battle hardened. He added: “You don’t notice at the beginning of the season but the way the table has worked out it is a great test for us. I don’t think we would want it any other way as you don’t want to play easy games then go into a tough semi. We want to get the momentum going for the play-offs.

“The last few weeks there has been play-off chat. It is about getting the best combinations going into the play-offs.”