Rugby World Cup diary: Laidlaw the pin-up man but Hastings adds spice

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw has become something of a cult hero in Japan. Picture: Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images
Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw has become something of a cult hero in Japan. Picture: Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images
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A BLOSSOMING ADORATION FOR ‘MR GREIG’

The “Mr Greig” Laidlaw phenomenon continues to gather pace over here and one can only surmise it will be approaching some kind of swooning fever pitch when we get to that Godzilla-sized game between Scotland and the hosts a week tomorrow.

Japanese media were in attendance at yesterday’s press conference in Kobe and, after the standard question “what are your impressions of the Japanese team?” was aimed at forwards coach Danny Wilson, the reporter went, via his translator, straight to the heart(throb) of the matter.

“How important is Greig Laidlaw to the Scotland team?”

Wilson replied: “Ah, ‘Mr Greig. He is extremely important to us… he is important in how we prepare for games and, more importantly, how we run game day.”

Just as the SRU press officer attempted to move the questioning on to Adam Hastings, the Japanese journalist demanded one more which, when it came from the translator, was: “Will Greig play against Japan?”

Wilson replied: “Big question. I won’t be confirming or denying any selection today. We will have to wait and see.”

Laidlaw, below, has seemed a little embarrassed by all this fuss but you imagine his agent has been taking note. With Dan Carter playing out here for the Kobelco Steelers, it may be a canny pre-retirement move for the Jedburgh pin-up.

IF YOU WANT MY FUTURE, 
FORGET THE PAST

Adam Hastings has always been endearingly tongue-in-cheek dismissive of his old man Gavin’s playing days, with lippy jibes about black and white footage and how boring it was back then with all that kicking.

After becoming the first father and son to play at a World Cup, and with dad heading to Japan next week to watch what is expected to be his son’s first start in the tournament against Russia, the young man took things to extremes yesterday, however.

The Glasgow stand-off, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, was speaking about how the razzmatazz build-up to Monday’s Samoa game, with the lights and dramatic Japanese drums, had given him goosebumps. When it was pointed out that there was no such hoopla in his dad’s day, Hastings jnr replied: “No, they were probably playing Spice Girls songs or something.”

For the record young man, the Spice Girls’ epochal first No 1 smash “Wannabe” was released in November 1995, a couple of months after your father had retired from the game.

The youth of today, I ask you.