Ali Price reveals his Test goal for British and Irish Lions and the buzz of seeing fans at the Euros
Ali Price insists that he has put the euphoria of Lions selection behind him and is now firmly focused on fighting for a place in the tourists’ Test team this summer.
The Glasgow scrum-half is at the Lions’ training camp in Jersey as the countdown continues to next weekend’s warm-up match against Japan at Murrayfield - a game he is targeting as the first chance to prove he should be in the No 9 jersey for the three-Test series against the Springboks.
“No-one is here to make up the numbers, and I would be lying if I said I was just happy to be here,” said Price, one of eight Scots in Warren Gatland’s squad for the trip to South Africa. “Everyone is happy to be here, but we want to be involved as much as we can.
“Those three games at the end of the tour are what we’re all gunning for. When the games start coming and squads are being selected everyone is competitive, and it is just about taking opportunities when you get them in the games.”
That was precisely the message to Price and the other Scots from national coach Gregor Townsend and assistant coach Mike Blair, both of whom want their players to make the most of this possibly unique chance to play at the highest level of the world game. “Gregor rang all the Scottish boys shortly after the announcement and congratulated us and told us just to do what we've been doing for Scotland,” Price explained. “He said ‘Don't shy away from any opportunity that you are given’.
“I got a great message from Mike Blair as well. He said it was brilliant I had been selected, but not just to be satisfied with that. You're there because you're one of the best three (scrum-halves, along with Ireland’s Conor Murray and Wales’ Gareth Davies) and it's for you to go and make the most of the tour.”
While Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell among others are still with their clubs as they prepare for the end-of-season play-offs in England and France, Price and 25 of his fellow squad members have settled down at their Jersey base as they prepare for the Japan match on Saturday 26th. The 28-year-old knows that this fortnight could see him get his tour off to a flying start by being selected for the match in Edinburgh, and he is particularly keen to be involved as a crowd of about 16,500 will be allowed into the national stadium.
“I've just got to put my best foot forward in training over the next couple of weeks,” he added. “It's massive for the Scottish players to try and get themselves involved in the 23 for the Japan game up in Edinburgh.
“Our friends and family will be able to come and watch. It's a big carrot at the end of these two weeks.
“I'm really looking forward to it. I've seen a few games in the Premiership where they have started to get three or four thousand back in stadiums. It does make a massive difference to the energy of the place.
“Watching the football starting now, having fans back, it just creates a buzz around the place. As players you can feed off that. There's nothing better, to be honest.”