Home comforts for Townsend at Scotland’s open session

Head Coach Gregor Townsend and the Scotland squad welcomed around 2000 rugby fans to Netherdale (16 February) in his hometown of Galashiels for an open training session today.

The session offered supporters an exclusive insight into what it takes to become an international rugby player and a chance to meet some of their heroes, one week before Scotland and England renew the oldest rivalry in international rugby in the NatWest 6 Nations at BT Murrayfield (Saturday 24 February).

Townsend said: “I think it was an excellent day for the supporters.

“The players get a boost from seeing so many of them coming out to watch them train but also when you play in front of a crowd the focus goes up which is a great thing in a training session.”

Netherdale is a place that holds a lot of fond memories for Townsend who first started playing rugby at a tender age, and believes there is no better place to go to feel close to the fans.

He said: “I played here (Netherdale) as a seven-year-old and being out on that field back then, it felt like the biggest pitch you had ever played on. My last game was here as well, playing for the Borders so I’ve been very lucky to start and finish a career in the same place.

“Obviously I’m biased being in Gala and the Borders but the response we’ve had has been excellent.

“I think it’s a great thing for our players to see what the national team means to the supporters. Throughout the country we have gotten a great response wherever we have gone, and we have sold out our last few games at BT Murrayfield which really shows the nation is behind the team.

“I think it’s really important we have that relationship between our playing group and our supporters.

“When you get that close interactions and speaking with players it’s great. For those not into rugby much, hopefully it will inspire them to join, and if they are, hopefully it will inspire them to work that little bit harder,” he added.