TEAM unity and determination to prove their doubters wrong will drive the Scotland Club XV on when they play the first leg of their Dalriada Cup double-header against Ireland at Netherdale tomorrow [Friday] night, says captain Fergus Scott.
The launch of Super6 means that the vast majority of players who have represented the side in recent years are not available for this season’s two-match series, leaving hooker Scott of Currie Chieftains and loose-head prop Shawn Muir of Hawick as the only survivors from last year’s team in the starting line-up, while replacements Gary Strain and Paddy Boyer, both of Glasgow Hawks, have also represented the Club XV in the past.
Such a significant turnover in leading players is bound to put the Club XV under pressure, but Scott says he backs his team to confound outside expectations.
“Scott Wight [the team’s coach] was talking about this the other day. He was saying that he’s sick of people telling him that we are not going to be good enough, so he’s desperate for us to prove our doubters wrong – we all are,” said Scott.
“The reality is that a lot of people in the squad won’t have played at this level before so it will be a bit of a shock to the system, but I believe we can adapt quickly. We’ll make a concerted effort to make sure everyone knows what they are getting into because it will be a very physical and robust game, but we’re all looking forward to testing ourselves.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way we have trained. I know there is a bit of scepticism out there because a lot of last year’s players are now in Super6, but from what I have seen there is enough ability and desire there to front up and do ourselves justice.”Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 27)
Scott added that the fact that the fact this year’s team is pulled together from a wider range of clubs than has previously been the norm has helped preparation for the task ahead.
“It feels like a much tighter group this year,” explained the 27-year-old. “I think the fact that there are representatives from almost every club in the Premiership has made a big difference.
“In the past, this team has tended to be dominated by players from clubs in the top four – Ayr, Melrose, Heriot’s and a few Currie Chieftains – but the spread this year has made it easier to integrate. There is definitely a different vibe and I think it is a positive one.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Scott,” he concluded. “His game-plan is all about us going out there and expressing ourselves, and he’s made it very clear from the start that we have been picked on merit so while we are here to improve as players we should also enjoy ourselves because it is reward for the way we have been playing all season.”
Scotland Club XV (v Ireland on Friday, at Netherdale, Gala, kick-off 7:30pm):Grant Mollison (GHA); Scott Bickerstaff (Marr), Conor Bickerstaff (Marr), Colin Sturgeon (Marr), Callum Young (Jed-Forest); Aaron McColm (Selkirk), Gregor Christie (Currie); Shawn Muir (Hawick), Fergus Scott (Currie Chieftains), Calvin Henderson (Marr), Mike Vernel (Currie Chieftains), Gregor Law (Jed-Forest), Jamie Sole (Edinburgh Academicals), Wallace Nelson (Currie Chieftains), Ewan MacDougall (Selkirk). Subs: Matt Carryer (Hawick), William Farquhar (Marr), Gary Strain (Glasgow Hawks), Robin Cessford (Aberdeen Grammar), Nathaniel Coe (Aberdeen Grammar), Patrick Boyer (Glasgow Hawks), Andrew Mitchell (Hawick), Steven Hamilton (Currie Chieftains).