Matt Scott: Gloucester arrival was like going back to school
Former Currie and Edinburgh Rugby favourite Matt Scott admits he felt like the new boy at school when he first turned up at Gloucester earlier this summer.
However, the 25-year-old centre has settled in well at Kingsholm in recent weeks and is looking forward to taking on Glasgow Warriors in a pre-season friendly on Friday night with his new club.
After a couple of weeks break after the Scotland tour to Japan in June, Scott moved to Cheltenham in mid-July and was straight into training with the English outfit.
“Coming from Currie through the Scotland age-grade ranks and then to Edinburgh has meant that I have always undertaken pre-season alongside familiar faces in the past,” Scott explained.
“When I turned up to my first day of training at Gloucester last month I knew none of the lads because the only squad member I had known previously, Greig Laidlaw, was still on an extended break.
“As a result it was a wee bit daunting walking in, but soon after the guys had made me feel welcome and it has been really interesting getting to know players who I have played against or admired from afar in the past who are now my team-mates.
“Being an Edinburgh boy and having grown up there, there is no doubt it was a tough decision to leave Edinburgh and the end of last term, but Gloucester seemed the perfect fit and I am loving life down here so far.”
It has been quite a journey for Scott since he was playing stand-off for Currie in the top league six or seven years ago, but you feel that his upbringing at Malleny Park has kept him grounded.
He helped Currie win the top flight title in 2009/10 – the likes of Dougie Fife, Chris Kinloch and Alun Walker having also gone on to the pro ranks from that squad.
He then earned nine Scotland under-20 caps in 2010 to put him on Edinburgh’s radar and he joined them in the summer of 2011.
An instant impact was made at Edinburgh after he shifted to centre and the former Currie High School pupil balanced his rugby and the hard work needed to complete a Law degree at Edinburgh University well.
A Scotland debut came in the 2012 Six Nations away to Ireland and he now has 36 full caps under his belt.
“When I think back it has been pretty mad how everything has happened so quickly, but you have to keep looking forward and I now cannot wait to get involved regularly with Gloucester,” Scott said.
“Everyone in the local area seems to love the sport and there is a buzz and anticipation amongst the fans as well as the players. In training we have been working really hard on high intensity and short, sharp drills because we really want to try and play the game with pace over the coming months.
“We know we have a lot of big games coming up and we feel really at our peak of fitness with the competitive action around the corner.”
Last year Gloucester perhaps underperformed, finishing eight in the Premiership with 10 wins from their 22 matches.
So far in pre-season they have played away to Irish side Leinster last weekend and lost out 26-24.
Scott was playing at outside centre alongside England cap Billy Twelvetrees in the first 40 minutes before the whole team was changed to allow the coaching staff to look at different combinations.
The debutante was impressive in the early stages for the Cherry and Whites, including making an incisive break which eventually saw winger David Halaifonua go over for a try.
Now Gloucester host Gregor Townsend’s Warriors on Friday at Kingsholm and Scott is excited to play against some of his Scotland team mates.
He stated: “It will be fun to play against guys I know well on the Warriors side. Like us they are just a week or so away from the competitive campaign getting underway and we know they will provide us with a stern challenge.
“We want to build on the good things we did in the Leinster match and for me it is all about trying to prove to the coaches that I deserve to start the Premiership opener against Leicester on September 2.”