He may have made Scotland’s first try, scored their second and denied Wales a potentially crucial one with a fabulous last-ditch tackle into touch on Rhys Webb, but Tim Visser believes his most important contribution on Saturday came a bit higher off the BT Murrayfield turf.
The aerial game is something the Welsh pride themselves on and, two years ago, it was their bossing of the sky war which played a big part in their victory. The Scottish coaches clearly identified it as a reversal that needed to be made but couldn’t have hoped for a better execution of the craft, with wings Visser and Tommy Seymour, in particular, delivering a series of soaring leaps to clutch vital possession.
“For me, the most important thing wasn’t my try or even the tackle that maybe saved a try but my work under the high balls,” said a delighted Visser after the 29-13 win over Wales.
“It’s something I’ve worked on a lot at Harlequins. I’ve been getting my reward at club level so it’s great to take that on to the international stage and claim the ball back for the team.
“It’s so important. It’s something that Tommy Seymour has done for a year or two now. It used to be a weak part of my game. It’s good to see results from the hours of work I get working with anyone I can find after training.”
Visser was brought back into the side after Sean Maitland failed to recover from a rib injury and the Dutch-born flier made the most of his chance with one of his best displays in a Scotland jersey, notching his 12th Test try in his 29th game.
Ahead of the match there was some concern about Visser going up against Lions star George North but, in the end, the Welsh right-winger, who was back from injury, was rendered anonymous and Visser shone.
The move to Harlequins has clearly made the 29-year-old a more rounded player than the prolific but slightly one-dimensional try machine he was at Edinburgh.
He may not consider the second-half score which helped stretch Scotland’s lead out to 13 points at a crucial point in the second half as the most vital part of his afternoon’s work, but the seasoned finisher didn’t need too much prompting to relive the thrilling moment when Stuart Hogg’s nimble hands put him in the left-hand corner.
“I called that pass from Hoggy, [pictured]. I asked him to step up and put a little pass in,” he explained.
“A lot of the times Hoggy doesn’t pass it! It sometimes just clicks. If you remember the France game last year, when he made that wonderful pass over his head [again putting Visser in for a try] we all know he can do special things. To anticipate that is good for me.”
Visser had already shown some deft hands of his own to pop up the scoring pass for Seymour to get Scotland going at the start of the second half as the Glasgow wing somehow managed to keep his body in play under pressure and spark the home side’s second-half surge.
“The first try was a called move. Hoggy called it. We hadn’t had much ball and struggled to get the back line together in the first half,” said Visser.
“So we looked to call something a little bit different. And it worked perfectly. I don’t know who ran the short line. I think it was Huw Jones.
“All I had to do was run around the back. I heard Tommy scream so I left it blind and, thank God, he was there.”
Visser will hope he has done enough to be involved when Scotland next take the field in that shot for the Triple Crown at Twickenham, a stone’s throw away from where Visser now plays his club rugby for Quins at The Stoop.
He knows that Maitland will be pushing for recovery from injury and a return to that wing berth but Visser insists the Scots will travel to Twickenham believing they can win there for the first time in 34 years. “Anything is possible,” he said. “You’ve seen that with our win first win over Wales in ten years.
“We won our first game in the Championship for the first time in 11 and we beat France last year, something we hadn’t done for ten years.
“England will be another step up for us. We will take the positives from this but also really analyse that first half.
“We can’t allow ourselves to get into that position [behind at half-time] again in the next game.
“You have to be positive and we always have been, as a team. Beating England at Twickenham would be the best result I’ve been involved in – and I’m pretty sure it’s like that for the rest of the guys, too.
“But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’re not the finished article, by any means.
“England are formidable and have been for the past couple of years. Ever since the World Cup, that is. We will be going down there with optimism and looking forward to it.
“Of course, we believe we can win at Twickenham but you can’t underestimate England, ever.
“They are easily the best team in the Championship and have been for years.”