Edinburgh's Ben Vellacott reflects on not being in Scotland squad as he looks to find consistency

Missing out on selection to Scotland’s Six Nations training squad this week was a disappointment but not a major shock for Ben Vellacott – but the Edinburgh scrum-half has not given up hope of adding to the solitary cap he currently possesses, which he picked up off the bench against Italy during last year’s Six Nations.

Ben Vellacott will focus on the upcoming weeks with Edinburgh.
Ben Vellacott will focus on the upcoming weeks with Edinburgh.

“The big thing for me is my consistency,” Vellacott reflected. “I am quite an attacking sort of nine and if that doesn't show in a game then it is not my best game personally, so Gregor Townsend [the national team head coach] and I have had a good chat and he has given me feedback on what to do better. Hopefully I can put in a few good performances over the next few weeks and something will maybe come off the back of that in the future.

“Game management was my weakest part at the start of last season but that has improved vastly by playing a lot,” he added, to emphasise that this is not the first time it has occurred to him that he needs to continually develop his game. “The leadership side, the more I get older the more experience I get, so I can help the younger lads and help this team to get where they want to go.”

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Vellacott has an excellent opportunity to blow away his disappointment and send out a ‘don’t forget about me’ message to Townsend with Edinburgh playing their final Champions Cup pool match against Saracens at the DAM Health Stadium this evening, knowing that they need a win to put themselves in the frame for a home draw in the last 16 of the tournament.

The home team will draw confidence from having pushed their English opponents all the way when the two teams met in round one of this tournament, before eventually losing 30-26.

“We were really disappointed at how the game ended,” said Vellaott. “We put in a good performance, one of the best of the season but, unfortunately, we were not on the best side of the result. This weekend we have home advantage and our home supporters and hopefully that gives us a bit of an impetus.

“These are the games you want to be part of,” he added. “They have been European champions a fair few times now, so to play them again will be great, and we’re really keen to make a statement in front of a full-house at the DAM Health Stadium.”

Saracens have won 15 out of 16 games they have played in all competition so far this season and have travelled north with a star-studded match-day squad featuring the likes of Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Billy and Manu Vuinipola and Elliot Daly. Scotland squad members Sean Maitland (wing) and Andy Christie (blindside flanker) are also in the starting XV, but Owen Farrell is suspended.

“For us, it’s about being smart with the ball in hand and respecting it a bit more,” added Vellacott. “That’s where we’ve been at our worst this year when we haven’t respected the ball and we’ve let teams, especially good teams like Sarries, into our own half – and once they’re into our half, we know what they can do with ball in hand.

“They’re one of the best teams in the world in terms of what they do, with their kick-chase. They’re at you for the whole 80 minutes. In terms of work-rate, we just have to work harder than them and hopefully come out on the right side of the result.”