Interim Scotland rugby coach Scott Johnson has admitted that Geoff Cross owes his seat on the bench in Dublin on Saturday to past form.
It is a major talking point in sections of Scottish Rugby that Cross has been restricted to one start for Edinburgh due to the strong South African influence, in this case Willem Nel, and concerns are exacerbated by Euan Murray’s injury and refusal to play on Sundays.
Johnson was left with little option regarding Cross as understudy to Moray Low and while giving the player a vote of confidence, he also said: “It’s difficult for him and it’s difficult for us to pick him and I won’t run away from that.
“Geoff has got to demand his place. Nel’s form at regional level has been first-class and Geoff hasn’t been able to walk through and slam the door.
“He gets an opportunity now because of deeds done in the past.”
Johnson also maintained the door remains open for Ross Rennie, the flanker loaned to Bristol by Edinburgh as part of the national squad.
Referring to how Rennie has recently been injured and lost his mother the coach said: “He’s had a hard year on and off the field and we have been very respectful of that.
“That is a paternal view as well (and) there’s no doubt if his form starts to turn and he’s playing at a consistent level he can play for us again – possibly this season. We love Ross Rennie.”