DOUGIE FIFE has acknowledged that an extra incentive for success in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash is to improve his chances of finally graduating from ball boy to Scotland winger at BT Murrayfield.
The 24-year-old has been recalled as one of five changes in the Scotland team against England at Twickenham.
And for Fife that will mean a fifth cap ‘on the road’ following on from a debut in Wales last season, tour appearances against Argentina and South Africa and that call off the bench when the RBS Six Nations Championship got under way in France.
While turning out in some of the world’s great stadiums is obviously appealing, there is no place like home, and with Ireland still to visit there is only one way for Fife to guarantee involvement in Edinburgh.
“My fifth cap and they’ve all been away games – I’d love to play here one day,” said the home-grown winger who rose through the ranks at Boroughmuir and Currie.
“It would be would be nice to play at home. Just to play for my country has been a dream but it would be nice to run out at Murrayfield.
“Having said that, Twickenham seems a cool place to go down to and win the Calcutta Cup. I’ve never been there but I have seen Calcutta Cup matches with the huge tradition behind them. In fact, I probably ball-boyed at a Calcutta Cup because I performed that task for quite a lot of games.”
Fife has faced England twice at A international level and is yet to lose, with a win and draw on his CV. “With Scotland under-20’s we have obviously had a bit of a hard time against England but but against the Saxons (A team) we have done pretty well,” he said. “This is a huge chance to make history by bringing the Calcutta Cup home.”
Once Sean Lamont and Sean Maitland were ruled out by injury Vern Cotter, the Scotland coach, was left with a choice between Fife and Edinburgh team-mate Tim Visser.
Asked what gave Fife the edge over the more experienced Visser, the coach said: “Energy, enthusiasm, his kick-chase. Dougie is a young player who is strong, makes line breaks and can finish as well.
“It was tight but we think his energy, especially in that aerial game, will be important.”
At least Cotter had a choice. Once Alex Dunbar had ruptured knee ligaments in training a decision had to be made to use back row John Beattie as emergency centre cover.
Beattie will give his all but it’s a big indictment of import policies when an Edinburgh team that’s meant to propagate tartan talent has fielded only one Scots-qualified centre all season – Matt Scott – with the role being covered by Kiwis Phil Burleigh and Sam Beard, South African Andries Strauss and Argentine Joaqquin Dominguez.
The other changes to the team see Finn Russell restored at stand-off, with Jim Hamilton and Dave Denton included in the forwards.