Ben Muncaster heard about his Scotland call-up on the toilet in South Africa

It has been quite the week for Ben Muncaster. On Tuesday he won Edinburgh Rugby’s young player of the year award at a dinner in the capital, and the following morning he was named in the Scotland squad for the summer tour of South America.

Ben Muncaster will tour South America with Scotland this summer. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Ben Muncaster will tour South America with Scotland this summer. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Muncaster received the call from Gregor Townsend in unusual circumstances. He on the toilet at Cape Town airport, on his way back from his club’s match against the Stormers.

If the back-row forward was caught off guard he managed to take it in his stride, although he may have felt a little flushed.

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“I was in Cape Town airport, just about to get on the flight. I was on the toilet,” he explains.

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“It was a random number and I thought it was just one of the players whose number I hadn’t saved. He called me and it was a bit of a shock. It was awesome, an amazing feeling.

“I kept it relatively quiet. The first thing I did was call my mum. I immediately called her and I was over the moon.”

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Muncaster has been an enthusiastic contributor to the Edinburgh revival this season, making great strides in what has been a breakthrough campaign for the North Berwick man.

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Ben Muncaster on the charge for Edinburgh in last month's win over Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

He brings pace and energy and his infectious personality has already impressed Townsend.

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“We’re excited about seeing him in our environment,” said the Scotland coach. “He trained for three weeks during the Six Nations and he fitted in well as a character.

“You want people who are going to enjoy touring, first of all, and can’t wait to play for Scotland and make the squad better. That can be people who are energisers or really positive people, and Ben’s one of those.

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“We all love people who are different and want them to be encouraged to be themselves when they come into the group. We want him to be the person he can be.”

Head coach Gregor Townsend will name his Scotland tour squad on Wednesday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
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Still only 20, Muncaster doesn’t want to be pigeon holed in one position in the back row and believes versatility can help him get more game-time at Edinburgh.

“I can see myself at six, seven or eight,” he said. “I want to be able to play every one. I think that will be very valuable going forward, especially with the massively competitive back row. With the likes of Bill [Mata], his X factor is irreplaceable. If you are able to play any of the back row positions it is easier to get in.”

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Muncaster is likely to be given his chance with Scotland in the A international against Chile on June 25. He hopes he can do enough to then be involved in the Test series against Argentina which will be played across the first three Saturdays in July in Jujuy, Salta and Santiago del Estero.

“Obviously, it was an amazing milestone for me in my life to get selected,” he said. “Now, my mind has shifted. I want to play, I want to put my hand up for selection.

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“That’s what I’ve been thinking about. Next week in camp that I’m going to try to do - impress and get as much information as I can from the other players. They are world-class and so are the coaches. I just want to make the most of it.”

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