Rugby: Matt Scott backs Capital side to beat anyone

Matt Scott
Matt Scott
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Matt SCOTT believes a season which started in the bucolic and relatively humble surroundings of Malleny Park, representing Currie against Gala, can end amid the towering grandeur of Twickenham with Edinburgh Rugby in a Heineken European Cup final.

A 19-14 quarter-final win over four-time champions Toulouse on Saturday has secured a semi-final date with Ulster at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on April 28, and centre Scott admitted: “Anything is now possible.”

As well as being Edinburgh’s first knock-out success in a tournament they first entered back in 1996 there was a personal landmark for Scott.

“I had to go off for a brief spell in the first half when a knee split my ear and caused me to have stitches inserted in a wound for the first time in my life.

“It wasn’t something I wanted although the knock was undoubtedly not as bad as it looked, but stitches were a price worth paying for Edinburgh to be where they are today.”

Of course, if Edinburgh do go the whole way to the final, that could present problems for Edinburgh University law student Scott, who is due to undertake final exams that same week in mid-May having been given a week’s extra time to submit his dissertation due to the demands of not just club but country (he made a Scotland debut from off the bench in Ireland last month).

That is for the future and he acknowledges his rapid rise, saying: “It is unbelievable and has not really sunk in. I thought we were especially phenomenal by holding our own in the scrum which was always going to be a key battleground.

“Toulouse’s game-plan was to kick and try and dominate at set piece, but I thought our forwards were outstanding with Greig Laidlaw controlling things pretty well at stand off and kicking the points.

“We got penalties and a drop goal when we needed them and just held out, but there was a lot of thought went in behind the scenes.

“Our coaches thought Jauzion, who is normally a centre, would be at full back if Clement Poitrenaud was not playing and the plan was to test them early with high balls.

“[Fellow centre] Nick De Luca was the one who spotted Jauzion was out of position in the build-up to our try so we put a high ball up and Mike Blair managed to squeeze over.

“The coaches really did their homework these past few weeks. I actually didn’t have much to do attack-wise. It was more a case of hitting rucks, making tackles and making sure our kick chase was right.

“It was not the most glamorous game for me – I think I made one run in the whole game – but it had to be done.

“I would have liked the ball a bit more, but you have to put those shifts in for your team now and again.

“We didn’t actually play that well in terms of attack. It was just simple, keeping the ball and getting into position until we got points.

“What summed up our performance was being down to 13 men and Greig Laidlaw sitting back in the pocket and knocking over a drop goal.

That showed the maturity we have. We know when to take points and know when to attack. We have come on a lot.

“At the end, too, Greig was still thinking clearly. Referee Nigel Owens said there was a minute left at the final penalty and Greig took his full minute which he was allowed to do.

“He was trying to batter the ball so it either went over the cross bar or went dead. We were just thinking about a good kick chase if necessary, but Greig’s kicking has been phenomenal.

“He is very shrewd is Greig, knowing when to take the points or call another play.

“From Malleny Park at the start of this season to wherever Edinburgh end up is just unbelievable.

“However, we are going to put in 100 per cent to win the next match – and if we can beat Toulouse we can beat anyone.”