Ryan Wilson: Scotland aren’t in Sydney to make up the numbers

Ryan Wilson keeps his eye on the ball during defence drill at the Coogee Oval in Sydeney. Pic: Fotosport/David Gibson
Ryan Wilson keeps his eye on the ball during defence drill at the Coogee Oval in Sydeney. Pic: Fotosport/David Gibson
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Loose forward Ryan Wilson believes Scotland are capable of beating Australia for the first time in Sydney on Saturday.

The tourists have won only twice in Australia, and never in Sydney, but back-rower Wilson plans on changing that at the Allianz Stadium.

The Glasgow forward said: “Beating Australia over here, it is a big ask, but something this group aims to do. We want to push on and start winning these games.

“We are getting closer and closer and once you break through and start winning those games you get on a bit of a roll.

“We speak about momentum and we take a lot from that, and the momentum we gained when Vern (Cotter) was in charge in the Six Nations. That momentum has got to carry on.”

Wilson is happy to be playing at all. He damaged his shoulder in the Six Nations defeat by England at Twickenham, exacerbated it against Italy and, though he tried to play through the pain, managed only two more matches before he was forced to rest.

He was more surprised than anybody that he started last week against Italy. He had been picked on the bench, but, when John Hardie went down in the warm-up, he was shunted up into the starting team at only a few seconds notice.

“When you are on the bench you expect these things,” he said.

“It happened a few times at Glasgow Warriors last year. I was chuffed to bits to start the match, though I felt for Hards (Hardie) because it was another miss out on an opportunity for him. When you get the opportunity, you grab it.”

Wilson feels at home in the Scotland set-up, having played under the new coaches when they were in charge at Glasgow, and believes they have not really changed their style.

“Everything they did at Glasgow was at the highest level,” he said.

“Those two (head coach Gregor Townsend and forwards coach Dan McFarland) don’t miss a thing – they never did at Glasgow.

“I don’t think anything changes in the way they go about it. They were so detailed with the way they were, they are the same here. It is nice for the players to have that familiarity coming in.

“We (the Glasgow players in the squad) know a lot of the stuff around the forwards and can take that in. The guys that don’t know it, have us, the players from Glasgow, who can lead that.”

It was nine weeks since Wilson had last played but, despite that, he lasted the whole 80 minutes in last Saturday’s 34-13 win over Italy in Singapore and felt he did more than enough to shake any rust out of his system to prepare himself to face Australia, where the back-row battle will be crucial.

“People talk a lot about their poachers and the breakdown, but they are a Super Rugby sort of team who play a lot of attacking rugby,” he said.

“Defence is going to be massive for us on the back of that. The attacking rugby we can play is up there with the best, we have seen that. We are looking to go out there and put in a good show.

“We have been watching a lot of the stuff they do this week and we know we can go out and combat that. They are a good team but so are we. We have similar players to go out there and do a good job.”