MAGNUS BRADBURY says he was ‘overwhelmed’ on the occasion of his first Scotland cap against Argentina on Saturday evening, but you would never have guessed it from the way he acquitted himself in tousy encounter at Murrayfield.
During his 50 minutes on the park, he had a couple of telling interventions with the ball in hand, was solid in defence, and was even the first man into a minor scrap when stand-off Finn Russell got involved in a shoving match against a couple of towering Argentineans.
“I was a bit overwhelmed, to be honest – it was pretty surreal out on the pitch. But I got my head down and just tried to do what I do,” he said.
“People will say that it’s special and it is special to get your first cap – I’m so happy – but at the end of the day, it’s just another game of rugby and you’ve got to focus on what the team need to do and what you need to do yourself to make as big an impact as possible.”
“It was surreal during the week knowing that I was in that squad but it all flew by and I was only really nervous for an hour before the game when I came into Murrayfield and was getting ready to go out. When you’re out on that pitch, you know that you need to focus and just do what you do.
“I’m used to being here at Murrayfield playing with Edinburgh but it’s a different strip, a different game. The pace was incredible. Everybody says how quick it’s going to be and I really noticed it in those first couple of phases. It was unbelievably quick.”
Bradbury added that it was a ‘good’ game, but he can be forgiven that moment of hyperbole given the magnitude of the occasion. This will not go down in the history books as a classic, but Scotland got the job done and Bradbury can bask in the glory of being a full internationalist with a 100 per cent record – for the next seven days at least.
“I’ll look to keep that going as long as I can, definitely. I’m looking forward to the Georgia game [in Kilmarnock next Saturday]. Hopefully I’ll be in the mix again,” he said.
“A win’s a win at the end of the day and everyone is really happy with each other and how we played. We’ll regroup Monday but at the moment everyone is on a high.”
Vern Cotter echoed his young star’s sentiment.
“It was nice to be able to come away in the 83rd minute with a win. It was a dour affair from the start with the ball a bit wet and the way they were trying to unsettle us at ruck time, so we knew it was going to be an arm-wrestle and I think the guys responded really well. It wasn’t perfect by any means but what we saw was a lot of grit and character. The result validates the work the guys have been doing,” he said.
“What I really like is that they scored a try and we scored a try straight back – that was important. I think a lot of things were constructed in the game – we weren’t going to play flash rugby all the time, we were going to alternate, and when the forwards rolled their sleeves up they did the job, and when they created opportunities for the backs they made good in-roads.”
Meanwhile, captain Greig Laidlaw paid tribute to the composure his team showed throughout, but especially during a tense final ten minutes when they saw three kicks to win it not go over, but kept the pressure on to earn a fourth shot at glory and this time make it count.
It was a commendable achievement, especially given that the heart-breaking way they lost last week’s match against Australia.
“It was hugely pleasing. There was no panic on the field, we had practiced for this all week and credit to the coaching staff and the players for preparing for a tight match and implementing the plan. The forwards really rolled their sleeves up with the one pass plays to get us on the front foot and they [Argentina] infringed at the end with a no-arms tackle. To win in that manner is brilliant,” he said.
“It was greasy out there with a slippy old ball and in the first half we weren’t getting to rucks quick enough, and when we were getting there the ball presentation was pretty loose. We turned it around in the last 20 minutes to hold onto the ball.”
“This is massive. It gives players confidence. It’s great to win no matter how you do it, but the fact that we won at home with nobody taking a backward step, is important before we play Georgia next week.”