Rugby World Cup diary: Kobe walkabout gives Scots squad new perspective


The Scotland players are eager to move on from the defeat by Ireland. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

John Barclay spoke yesterday about how the Scotland squad have broken out of their gloom and been soaking up a bit of Kobe, rather than moping in their hotel rooms this week.

The veteran forward was asked what this non-moping consisted off, with the caveat that “clearly it’s not going out for ten pints?”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

To which Barclay, with that trademark dry sense of humour, replied: “No, just nine pints.”

He then clarified: “Play cards, go for coffee, just have a wander. It’s an awesome place to have a wander around. It’s just so different to anywhere I’ve ever been. Most of us like the food.

“Just to get out there, especially after a bad game, the worst thing is just to sit in your hotel room and cry. I understand some people find it potentially frustrating to see us out and some people see a snippet on social media and it looks like people don’t care.

“The reality is we do care, but we can’t stay in our rooms and just do nothing because that would be ridiculous and not good for the culture and the boys have got to move 
on, have fun and remind ourselves we’ve got a big game this week.”


It was pointed out yesterday that I had featured in the Irish Times’ review of “what the Scottish press said” in the wake of Sunday’s match in Yokohama. The only problem is that, while, quoting the intro of my match report, they referred to me as “Iain Duncan of The Scotsman”.

I know the Irish are as edgy as we all are about Brexit so maybe there is something subconscious to read into that. All I know is that it’s far from the first time I have been dogged by monikered similarity with the arch-Brexiteer and erstwhile Tory leader.

The most bizarre was the morning after my brother’s wedding a few years ago, at which I was best man. I woke up in the hotel room feeling a tad fragile the next morning and the first thing to greet me on my phone was a tweet directed at me, which read “In your speech yesterday you said ‘work makes you free’, which is exactly what the 
sign said at the entrance to Auschwitz, shame on you.”

I recalled toasting the bridesmaids and telling some embarrassing stories about my brother but was pretty sure Auschwitz hadn’t got a mention. It then dawned on me that it was another one intended for my almost namesake, who was work and pensions secretary at the time.