With Scotland due to play against the Springboks in the second round of matches in the Castle Lager Incoming Series at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday it seemed like a good time to bring a view from within the Scotland camp. This is part two of Scotland lock Allistair Kellock’s tour blog written as his contribution as RBS Ambassador.
Six new caps, three lads out of the tour through injury and a very disappointing result against Samoa. These are the first things that come into my mind as I sit down to write.
It goes without saying that Saturday’s game was massively frustrating. We had a clear idea of what we wanted to do, but we just didn’t execute the plan. We sat off Samoa, allowed them to play and gave them a 14-point head start. We needed to close them down and make them feel like they had no space, but we didn’t do that consistently enough.
Our defence will have to be much better against South Africa this Saturday. If they get easy yards like Samoa did, we’ll be in a lot of trouble. We had a big defensive session on Tuesday to put things right, and there’s a determination from everyone to hit the levels we know we can when we step out at the Mbombela Stadium.
To the lads who got their first cap against Samoa: congratulations. I still think about my debut, against Australia in 2004, and all the emotions attached to the occasion. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get the win for them as an extra special memory of the day
Poor Pat MacArthur fits into both the first cap and injured categories, and he flies home along with Kelly and Geoff. I feel for them all but especially Pat, who, having got his first chance, was desperate to keep going.
We have moved on from Durban in a number of senses, and are now staying in Nelspruit, further north and inland. We’re based in a sports village and the heat is creeping up so we’re training early in the morning then later in the afternoon.
The rest of the day is made up of analysis and, for a lot of the boys, medical treatment, but there has been some down time spent on the pool table. Team manager Gav Scott has asked me to include that he and Greig Tonks won the tournament.
Besides Gav’s win, the other great news of the week was Ryan Grant getting his much deserved call up to the Lions. I’m delighted for him and wouldn’t be surprised if he pushes his way into the Test team.
And so to South Africa. There has to be a bit of a fear factor when you’re coming off a bad game to play one of the best teams in the world, but for me that’s healthy and will help us put things right.
Stick with us: we’re as disappointed with last weekend as you are and are working hard to make you proud.