SCOTLAND’S interim head coach Scott Johnson will be joined by Vern Cotter, his successor, next week in the lead-up to the autumn Test matches, and they have decided to use the games with Japan, South Africa and Australia to continue trying out team combinations.
Johnson takes us through his thinking in the Scotland autumn Tests in an exclusive interview in the latest Scotsman Rugby Show in association with Ginger Grouse. He pays tribute to the uncapped quintet Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray, Chris Fusaro, Kieran Low and Blair Cowan, insists he will not ‘give away” Test caps and nor will he pick the same team for all three autumn Test matches, but will try various combinations, old and new. While keen to see youngsters push their cases just 24 matches away from the next World Cup, he also states that he wants to see a realisation among the squad that this autumn may be the final Test chance for some players.
“At the end of the day I want to make sure that we’re a little wiser about our team and our skill-set,” he says, “but that’s not to say that we’re not there to compete.
“We are there to compete and I don’t want to put a Scotland team out that I don’t think can do that, but I want players to realise and treat this as possibly their last go in a Scotland jersey because I’m not waiting for players. I’m moving ahead and I hope that that anxiousness and competitiveness can bring out a really good team, so for the autumn I want good, tenacious performances that show that we’ve got versatility.”
We also catch the Gray brothers, Richie and Jonny, as they’re putting away the tackle bags at the end of their first Scotland squad session together, and find out how much they have inspired and worried each other, and, more interestingly perhaps for brothers of 6ft 6in and 6ft 9in tall ... when the last time was that they fought? Richie reveals that it was not long ago and was over football!
This week’s show also rounds up some of the best tries scored in recent club games with the help of Borders Rugby TV - watch out for Scottish full-back Stevie McColl spearheading Leeds’ demolition of Gala in the British and Irish Cup - and we appeal for more clubs to get in touch and send us their footage from club matches across Scotland.
To get in touch and have your club featured on the Scotsman Rugby Show, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scotsman Rugby Show, in association with Ginger Grouse