Gordon Ross aiming to be thorn in Scottish side as Exiles cross swords
GORDON Ross could be forgiven for feeling a bit mixed up as he prepares to steer a Welsh side against a Scottish one the weekend after Scots’ hopes were crushed in Wales.
However, the former Scotland stand-off, 34 next month, is revelling in his rugby at London Welsh, where the Old Deer Park club has clinched a spot in the promotion play-offs for the English Premiership.
His last of 25 caps for Scotland was a narrow loss to South Africa in 2006, and considering Scotland’s troubles with developing stand-offs, it has been surprising that national coaches have ignored him since then.
But, playing for Saracens and now London Welsh, he has proven that there is life after Scotland. His focus currently is simply on becoming the thorn in the side of London Scottish tomorrow, again, in what is expected to be the biggest league crowd of the season at the Athletic Ground in Richmond, and pushing the Championship newcomers closer to the relegation trap-door.
Scottish have lost their last three games to Esher, Nottingham and Bedford and now face a fight with bottom club Esher, Plymouth and Moseley to retain their Championship status. Welsh are fourth, hanging on to the coat-tails of Bristol, Cornish Pirates and Bedford.
When the great exiles clubs met earlier in the season at Old Deer Park, Ross snatched victory for the home side with a last-gasp penalty, Scottish having come within touching distance of a famous win after David Howells’ interception try and James Brown’s conversion. Ross is too experienced to worry about damaging the hopes of a Scottish side, however, and is merely focused on helping London Welsh continue their push towards promotion, having sealed a place in the play-offs.
He said: “I don’t even think about it. In the past I’ve gone back to play against Edinburgh for Leeds, as an ex-Edinburgh player. These kinds of things happen. You don’t think about it too much; you just crack on with the game.
“With it being a derby game there will be a bit of an edge to it. In the game at Old Deer Park, both teams tried to play good rugby and they just wore us down in the scrum in the second half. I think they’ll be slightly disappointed that they didn’t see that game out.
“Scottish did their homework very well, James Brown kicked well from ten and any time we turned the ball over we found ourselves back in our own half.
“The lessons to be learned are to look after our ball, especially attack ball, and be wary of their kicking game off first phase.”
He added: “From our point of view we’ve got three more games to play before the play-offs, and we want to win all three to build some momentum.
“Hopefully, we can put together three performances together to prepare us for the play-offs both mentally and physically.
“This weekend it will be good for us to hopefully just get a game of rugby. We’ve had two very frustrating weeks and the guys are itching to play. There’s a good buzz about the place and lots of enthusiasm and energy, and hopefully we can bring that to the game on Sunday.”
It was ever thus with Ross and it is great to see the ebullient Edinburgh star has not lost his shine.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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