Scotland had a taste of the tropics in Sydney today as they trained at a ground which had certain resonance.
The original plan was to practice at Manly Oval but torrential overnight rain meant that was ruled out. Instead they headed to Pittwater Park, home to the Waringah Rats, the club that was a home from home for the former Scotland stand-off, Gregor Townsend, who spent a summer here in 1993.
Watch birthday boy Tim Visser, below:
There was a pleasing intensity about the session, led by head coach Andy Robinson and his assistants, Scott Johnson, Duncan Hodge and Massimo Cuttitta, which started in sunshine with pelicans flying overhead. That concentration was maintained in spite of a deluge of biblical proportions towards the end of their 90 minutes’ training.
The forecast for the next few days suggests showers will affect coastal areas and the longer-range forecast predicts showers too in the Hunter Valley, where Scotland will head at the weekend to hone final preparations for the Test match against Australia which will open their short southern hemisphere tour next Tuesday.
This afternoon the squad were visited by a television crew from Fox Sports, who will broadcast next week’s match via Sky in the UK with five players – captain Ross Ford, Sean Lamont, Mike Blair, Euan Murray and Richie Gray – and head coach Robinson on the receiving end of a gentle interrogation both for match preview purposes and to be shown on the big screen at the 33,000 capacity Hunter Stadium in Newcastle.
The changeable weather did not put a dampener on Tim Visser’s 25th birthday celebrations. The big winger was in irrepressible mood as he reflected on both a purposeful training session and how he has acclimatised into the squad.