ONE hundred and eight days after coach Vern Cotter named his initial training pool at the start of June, the official Scotland squad finally arrived in England yesterday for the Rugby World Cup.
They flew from Edinburgh Airport in the morning and arrived at their base in Tewkesbury, 12 miles from Gloucester, the city in which they will open their campaign against Japan on Wednesday afternoon.
Ahead of the departure, loosehead prop Ryan Grant, who has shaken off an ankle injury sustained in the first warm-up match against Ireland a month ago, said: “I just want to get on the plane now and get the World Cup started as it seems like a lifetime ago that we started training for this. I’m just looking forward to it as I’ve never played at a World Cup before.”
Cotter will host an arrival press conference at the team hotel this morning before the squad’s official welcome to the tournament at Gloucester Cathedral, where pupils from Cheltenham’s All Saints College will sing the competition anthem World In Union.
Glasgow Warriors forward Grant is looking forward to immersing himself in the tournament and is excited about what is to come in the weeks ahead. He said: “We will spend a lot of time training and there’s never a dull moment around these lads.”
Grant is sure that the squad has made progress under Cotter and can’t wait for the team to showcase their ability on the world stage.
“Some of the sessions we went through were so hard but if we did that now then they would be some of the easier sessions.
“That’s the level of skills we have now. Skill wise and fitness wise, all of the boys are a lot further forward.”
After Wednesday’s Pool B opener against Japan, Scotland face the USA in Leeds on Sunday 27 September before two Saturday games in Newcastle against South Africa and Samoa.