RYAN Wilson may not be able to name every relative who will pitch up at Murrayfield to witness his introduction to international rugby on Saturday, but he certainly knows them all.
Wilson was born in Aldershot and brought up in the south by his mother, Lorraine Thomson from Motherwell, and English father Ryan Wilson. He eventually found his way back to his mother’s part of the world via Lord Wandsworth College and Farnham RFC , passing through those institutions a few years after a certain Jonny Wilkinson.
He also had stints at London Irish, Wasps and Moseley by the time he had turned 21. Now, two months shy of his 24th birthday, his consistency of performance as a marauding No 8 with Glasgow Warriors and impressive first runs as a captain with Scotland A – leading his side to a first-ever win over England Saxons on English soil – and his club side have opened the door to the Test arena.
Wilson will take over from Edinburgh’s injured back row David Denton on the bench against Wales and keeps out the fit-again Alasdair Strokosch because coach Scott Johnson wishes to reward his form. Cue the invasion from Motherwell.
“I don’t know how many will be there,” he said, laughing, “but my mum’s family are coming to Murrayfield and my old man is bringing a load up from the south.
“My mum and dad aren’t from big families as such, but my Scottish papa was one of six children I think and my nana one of 13, so I’ve got lots of aunts, uncles and cousins! I think one of my uncles has a cafe around Fir Park where Motherwell play. It might even be in the stadium. I’m not sure.
“But there’s loads of relations there. It’s always big family occasions when I go to Motherwell, and I love it. But trying to pick up names is a nightmare!”
He may sound more cockney than Glaswegian but his name has been on the lips of Glasgow supporters over the past year.
His powerful style and unstinting commitment – often with blood dripping from somewhere – as well as a skilful ball-playing ability which reveals his round-ball talent, are at the heart of his team’s league title challenge this season.
“Something the coaches wanted me to do was to pick up a bit of consistency,” he added. “Last season I could have a good game one week and then have a dip the next but, over the last seven or eight games, I think I’ve been pretty consistent, and that’s just maturity and knowing the game.
“Now the chance has come I’ll hopefully grab it with both hands and run with it if I do get on the pitch.
“But I am here to help the team and the thing is to get a win for Scotland.
“If I’m needed for that then I’m needed, and if I’m not then I just have to sit back and take it.
“I’ll have to wait and see, but I want to have earned my cap.”