Scotland captain Kelly Brown missed last year’s nail-biting success against Samoa through injury.
But cast your mind back to Aberdeen in 2010 and Brown can recall that that was another close-run thing – the last kick of the game from Ruaridh Jackson securing a win for Scotland.
Speaking in Durban today as Scotland prepare for Saturday’s opening tournament match against Samoa at King’s Park, Brown reflected that, in the past, there may have been an expectation from some supporters that South Sea island opponents would provide flamboyance aplenty but that their threat could be diminished.
“If that ever existed it’s not the case now,” he said. “The Samoans have players operating at some of the top clubs around the globe. They’re ranked seventh in the world entirely on merit and we know it will be tough this weekend.”
Brown, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Saturday, visited King’s Park yesterday – he came off the bench when Scotland were last there in 2006 – and the 55,000 capacity ground with the steepling stands looked in good nick.
Winter grass had apparently been grown from seed and the pitch was refreshed around six weeks ago, he was told.
“Samoa are a side that likes the physical stuff,” he noted “but it’s up to us to impose ourselves on them. If we can put them under a bit of pressure that’s what we’re looking to do.”