Edinburgh RUGBY star Allan Jacobsen will set a new Scottish appearances record for a prop forward when he gains a 62nd cap, against Wales, at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Sunday.
Having joined an elite who have graced the international scene for a decade when he turned out against England last weekend, the 33-year-old from Longniddry will now overtake Tom Smith, coincidentally the Edinburgh forwards coach.
It is a tremendous feat of endurance by a player who earned his spurs against Canada on tour and colleagues today paid tribute to a man whose work ethic shows he sign of waning.
Indeed, asked what qualities would be needed to eventually overhaul Jacobsen, the man who will be on the opposite side of the front row this weekend, Geoff Cross, replied spontaneously, exclaiming “patience” in a clear indication that Jacobsen has still some way to go in Scotland’s cause.
Elaborating on what the player known as “Chunk” brings to both club and country Cross, who will take his own cap haul into double figures, deliberately chose his words, remarking: “Chunk grafts. What he talks about he talks from direct experience. Not everybody who talks in a team environment talks like that but Chunk does and that adds weight to the information he chooses to impart.
“That is something I admire about him.
“He has helped me settle into the team. I enjoy working with Chunk as he has a lot of useful information on how I can help him and how I can help myself.”
Speaking mainly on behalf of the Edinburgh Rugby team he captains, new Scotland stand off Greig Laidlaw said: “I didn’t realise Chunk had reached this milestone but I’m delighted for him. He is a great guy. He is somebody I think everybody looks up to and it is probably the case that he is from the old school.
“Chunk does not say much. I really respect him. He goes out every week and does his job, most weeks well. If we had more players like Chunk, the rugby world would be a better place.
“When he does speak, everybody listens.”
The retirement of Dan Parks means that Jacobsen, along with centre Sean Lamont, is now the most capped player in the current line-up and such venerability has proved a bonus for rookies such as Dave Denton, who is poised to make his first away appearance for Scotland on Sunday.
Says Denton, 22: “Chunk has been a great person to be around in terms of the personality he brings and the experience he brings. You can learn a lot from him in the way he approaches the game.
“Also, in the gym he is pretty incredible and it good for young guys to look up and see how hard he has worked to get how far he has got.
“Normally he is more of a lead-by-example guy but when he talks, everybody knows he is talking sense.”
Scotland coach Andy Robinson even believes Jacobsen has plenty of scope for extending his cap tally.
“I’m looking at Allan to play for another couple of years,” said Robinson at the announcement of his initial Six Nations squad a few weeks ago, adding: “He still has the fitness and enthusiasm. I’m delighted with him.”
By fulfilling that prediction, Jacobsen could overtake Gordon Bulloch (75) as Scotland’s most capped front rower, but it might take a bit longer to become Scotland’s most capped forward.
That accolade belongs to the 87-times capped Scott Murray who, coincidentally, is also a product of the Preston Lodge club and is still going strong at club level with Castres.
They build them to last down at PL’s Pennypit Park.
Meanwhile, as well as overtaking Tom Smith, messrs Jacobsen and Sean Lamont will also surpass the cap total of Gavin Hastings, making them joint 12th most capped players in Scottish rugby history.