Edinburgh’s David Denton is ready to play a part in nailing down what he believes will be the greatest result in Scottish rugby history if New Zealand can be repelled at Murrayfield in the opening EMC Autumn Test tomorrow.
Back rower Denton returns to the matchday squad after missing the all-conquering summer tour of Australia and South Pacific through injury, and while frustrated to be starting on the bench he intends channelling that into a positive energy whenever required.
This impact role has left the 22-year-old thirsting to test his physicality in the ultimate cauldron. “This would be the biggest win Scotland have ever had. There have been some great wins (in recent years) including a bunch of Calcutta Cup wins. But to beat the world champions when they are ranked No. 1, this is a great opportunity for us.
“We have a great record in autumn tests and this is an opportunity for us to continue.”
While Scotland have knocked over both South Africa and Australia during the autumn since 2009, tomorrow they face opponents who haven’t lost on their annual European sojourn in a decade.
Nevertheless, Denton feels Scotland not only have vital self-belief but can also draw on the encouragement that is bound to come from a sell out home crowd – the first time there will be a full stadium at this stage of a campaign.
“There are a lot of good experienced players in the team but there are also a lot of young guys who have the arrogance of youth. I know that everyone truly believes we can beat them.
“To be honest, I don’t think anybody ever goes into a rugby game thinking anything different but this is something we can definitely do. Any team can win a rugby match on any day, it is just about turning up and making sure that we are more there mentally than they are.
“We are on our home turf, we have sold out Murrayfield for the first time in an autumn Test and that is incredible. They can see the potential this team has. It is a massive honour to be part of that experience as a player. There is also the pressure of living up to the hype which is something I am confident we can do.
“We are going to have to work for every single point. Every player is going to have to be at their best – anything less will see us lose. I am confident everybody has prepared mentally and physically.”
Denton also acknowledged the continuing role being played by Floyd Woodrow who has worked with elite international athletes and sporting teams, the world’s leading banks, governments etc, on all aspects of elite performance and leadership.
Although there is nor formal arrangement between Woodrow and the players, he has been brought in by coach Andy Robinson and Denton added: “We have not had a sports psychologist; that’s something guys can take control of themselves. There is an option for one but I don’t think we need one. We have got Floyd Woodrow, ex SAS man, who is always around if we need somebody to talk to.
“For someone who has been in life or death experience it is nice that we can take that experience into our rugby match
“It sounds cliched and cringeworthy but you have to go out there and put everything on the line to beat a team like the one we are faced with. It is not a formal thing. Floyd sits around training and will come and sit next to you at the table if you want someone you can just talk to.”