Club XV Head Coach Rob Chrystie reflects on Dalriada Cup experience
Following an enthralling encounter in the second-leg of the Dalriada Cup, where Scotland recorded a 19-19 draw on the night at Energia Park, Scotland Club XV Head Coach, Rob Chrystie reflected on the experience.
“We talked before the game on Friday about our performance from the home-leg and we were a little bit disappointed that we didn’t really fire a shot, but tonight, to a man, I felt the boys were fantastic. To come across here and get a draw is not a bad result against a strong Ireland side.
“I think if we could have put a performance in like we did tonight then we would have caused them a lot more problems down in Gala last week, but look, we can’t look back on that too much and the way they have turned this around tonight has been pleasing.”
It was a try in the first 45 seconds which got the traveling Scots off to a flying start in Dublin, when asked on the early score Chrystie said, “We had planned for it and we had talked about how important it was to get that score early on and it was one of the things we had worked on over the last few weeks.”
The Scotland Club XV side is made up of the best players in the Tennent’s Premiership, Chrystie, who is also Head Coach of Melrose, added, “The group commit a lot of time to this, they come to training on a Monday night after work and train hard to represent this Scotland Club XV side.
“It has been a great experience for some of these young guys, it’s important they get that exposure and playing at the highest level possible, this is an excellent fixture, the whole competition has been really good for everyone’s development.
It’s never the easiest of tasks, pulling together a squad of 23 from the cream of the crop around the country, with the coaching only having limited contact time and opportunities to train and work on necessary set-tactics with the players.
However, it is considered a great honour by the clubs to see their hard-working players earning international recognition after tireless training and performances on the pitch week in week out.
“Club XV means different things to different people” captain Pete McCallum said during an interview after the second leg.
“The Club XV has been a programme that I’ve always aspired to, being one of those players who probably wasn’t going to make it as a pro. I remember when I first got picked and I was delighted with that.
“Jamie Bhatti was in the programme a couple of years ago, look at him now, playing for Scotland!”
“The growth of the group has been really good, and I think it shows the strength and depth of the club game in Scotland and there are some really talented players coming through the system.
“To come across to Ireland, and you can see by the players reaction that they’re disappointed and, for me, it is a really good reaction.
“With Finn Gillies and Phil Smith and all the back-room staff, a big thank you has to go to them, they’ve also been superb.”
To conclude, Chrystie paid tribute to his players, “They’ve really done their country proud in the way they approached that game, I take my hat off to them, they’ve been excellent.”