Grayson Hart today used the Evening News to pass on thanks to a young supporter for the sustenance that propelled him to a five-star display featuring a try brace as Edinburgh Rugby dispatched Ospreys at Meggetland.
The switch from cavernous Murrayfield to the compact Boroughmuir ground on Friday night has been widely hailed as an outstanding success – with a sweet bonus accruing for Kiwi-born/Scottish qualified scrum half Hart due to the close proximity of the crowd.
“We were attacking in the top corner when there was a break in play,” said Hart. “From out of the crowd a little kid emerged and offered me a lolly [Kiwi for a sweet].
“I don’t know what our team nutritionist will make of me eating a lolly during a game, but it gave me a bit of energy,” said the former New Zealand Under-20 cap, who made seven Super Rugby appearances for Auckland and two for the New South Wales Waratahs before crossing the globe.
He added: “Whatever the merits of Murrayfield, you don’t get lollies given to you during play and I loved the atmosphere at Meggetland.
“Huge credit to the crowd who turned out and to those whose initiative resulted in us moving while Murrayfield’s pitch is repaired (from a parasitic invasion).”
Hart certainly showed plenty of vitality and an eye for a gap in snapping up tries which raised his tally to a highly impressive three from three league starts.
The nephew of former All Blacks coach John Hart was, however, quick to praise the forward effort which set up those scores and made him the first Capital player to manage a try double this season.
“My first try stemmed from forwards putting in the hard yards by driving a maul downfield into their “22”.
“That 30 metre rolling maul had helped to suck in defenders, which left the space for me to go through. No matter how you plan scrum moves, line-out moves etc, in training there are always opportunities to play unscripted. When the ball just spilled out at my feet I picked it up and ran. We were on the front foot but I still couldn’t believe the gap was there round the side of the maul.”
Hart’s second was from even closer range – about two metres – and came when he spotted a gap at the side of a ruck.
“I almost messed up by tripping over my own feet, but that was because at the last second I spotted a defender moving infield and I just took the chance.”
Such opportunism will certainly do Hart’s representative prospects no harm, and even before he had made a league start the one-time Auckland No.9 had shared from off the bench Scotland A’s draw with England Saxons.
Now, with today’s confirmation that Greg Laidlaw is moving to Gloucester, there is every likelihood he will find himself battling with Sean Kennedy and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne for a starting berth at Edinburgh.
Although Kennedy was preferred by Scotland A last time, it seems Hart has leapfrogged the ex-Glasgow player.
For the last three league matches while Laidlaw has been in the Scotland camp Hart has been given a starting role.
The same applied at Gloucester in the Heineken European Cup when Laidlaw was rested after the Autumn Test series and ultimate confirmation of the high regard in which Hart is held came with a call-up as cover when Chris Cusiter was receiving treatment for a calf strain prior to the Italy match.
“Training with the Scotland squad while Cus had a scan was cool to be part of, even though I was just filling in.
“It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and made me want to strive for more honours. I just love to be out there and, having had only a few games so far with Edinburgh (a debut was delayed through a knee injury), any opportunity I get I want to make the most of it.
“Edinburgh now have a break of a couple of weeks and for me that’s frustrating; I’d rather have kept on playing.”
In fact, with Hart’s star in the ascendancy, it must be reasonable odds that he will have further opportunities to at least train with Scotland over the next few weeks and months with a summer tour now a distinct possibility.