Hodge bowled over by Australian internationals

Scotland specialist skills coach, Duncan Hodge, combined his loves of rugby and cricket this morning as he visited The Grange Club in Edinburgh with the Hopetoun Cup, ahead of tomorrow's one day international between Scotland and Australia and 12 weeks before the two nations meet at Murrayfield in the final Autumn Test.

Hodge last held the Hopetoun Cup - which has been given to the winner of Scotland v Australia rugby fixtures since 1998 - in Newcastle, NSW last June when Scotland defeated the Wallabies 9-6 at the Hunter Stadium.

He said: "It was a pouring wet Tuesday night in Newcastle but great memories with the trophy won in the last kick of the game.  It will obviously be a big return game in November.

"They’ve played a lot of rugby since then and there's a lot of rugby to play before we meet again on Saturday 23 November. Australia are a good side, they’ve got a quality set of players and have a new coach which will add another dimension.

Hopefully we'll see some of the same faces as last year playing for us, a few new guys have been capped since that 2012 summer tour and I’m sure more guys will stick their hands up before then, too."

The 26-cap former Scotland stand-off also played cricket to under-19 international level for his country and was delighted to line up at the crease with cricket internationalists Preston Mommsen (Scotland, left) and Adam Voges (Australia, right).

Hodge said: "I absolutely love my cricket – with rugby I don’t get the time to play any more but when I was younger I played as much cricket as rugby. I had to choose one and it happened to be rugby, when I was about 19.

"It’s great to see a team like Australia here in Scotland – I remember sitting here [The Grange] with my dad in 2005 and it tipped with rain the whole day so everyone’s just praying for nice weather tomorrow to get a full day’s cricket.

"I'm hoping to get down to the match tomorrow – I’ll be coaching most of the day but I'll see if I can sneak down for half an hour!"

Preston Mommsen said: “It was great to have Duncan and the Hopetoun Cup at the Grange this morning, it’s a very impressive trophy! We are looking forward to welcoming the Australians here tomorrow and hopefully can emulate our rugby counterparts after they retained the cup in June 2012.
"We wish them all the best at Murrayfield when the Australians come around on 23 November.”

The Australian One Day International squad plays Scotland at The Grange Club, Portgower Place , Edinburgh, EH4 1HQ on Tuesday 3 September.

Tickets are still available to see Scotland take on the Wallabies at Murrayfield on Saturday 23 November (kick-off 6pm) with prices starting at £20 (adult) and £10 (concession). Prior to Australia, Scotland meet Japan (9 November, k/o 2.30pm) and South Africa (17 November, k/o 3pm) - single tickets and season passes are still available.