Six Nations: Scot Johnnie Beattie ready for Wales

Johnnie Beattie expects a rip-roaring game against the Welsh as the Scots seek a third win. Pictures: Ian Rutherford
Johnnie Beattie expects a rip-roaring game against the Welsh as the Scots seek a third win. Pictures: Ian Rutherford
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Johnnie Beattie will line up for Scotland against Wales at Murrayfield in Saturday’s RBS Six Nations Championship clash fresh from a deeply personal reminder of just how much success can mean.

In the minutes after a 12-8 home victory over Ireland last time Beattie’s father, also John, was invited into the dressing room to make a presentation to Al Kellock on his 50th cap.

Writing in his weekly BBC blog Beattie, snr, revealed he burst into tears.

“The funny thing was my dad is actually quite like me in that he’s not especially emotional at the best of times.

“That added to the moment because when the emotion does come out you see how much it means.

“Dad got caught up in the emotion and it was certainly a different type of after-match celebration. We all got caught up in the emotional side.”

Now capped 19 times, a clue had come on Johnnie’s debut.

“My dad was doing (BBC) commentary for that match against Romania and I scored a try.

“It was all too much for him and he had to ask the co-commentator to take over but I suppose that is an occupational hazard for anyone who seems someone in their family coming through to play internationals.”

Too true. Just ask George North, Wales’ wing this weekend whose Dad invaded the Paris pitch to share in celebrations when his son scored the winning try against France this season!

Beattie’s only previous 
encounter with Wales touched the heart strings for other reasons. That was the clash at Cardiff in 2010 which ended Thom Evans’ career when the winger suffered a broken neck in an accidental collision.

It was also the game where Scotland had two players sin-binned in the final few minutes as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, Wales winning 31-24.

“That was emotionally horrendous but a cracking game of rugby,” said No. 8 Beattie who expects Wales to play in a similar style.

“Every time against Wales it is a case of expecting them to run the ball. It’ll be tiring - but great to watch.

“The Welsh back row is world-class with the people they have and the platform they generate for outside backs.

“That’s a top challenge and we’ve done a lot of analysis to know that for the last five or six years they have pretty much kicked everything out of their half using high and long balls.

“They try and make as much territory as they can in getting the ball into the opposition half.

“We know what they are going to do but that doesn’t stop them being very, very good at it.

“However it is a chance for us to match them about the park and try and pinch ball where we can.”

Beattie’s views on the Welsh approach is reinforced by discussions involving club-mates at Montpellier.

“I am well aware of how organised the Welsh can be but it is has been difficult in a sense returning to Montpellier.

“On the one hand my club-mates are pleased for me enjoying some success but I can see how down they are at France losing their first three games in the Championship.

“I also sense, though, there is a genuine pleasure regarding Scotland’s revival.”

Some, like Welsh centre Jamie Roberts, have referred to Scotland as one of the most improved teams in world rugby.

Beattie adds: “People’s expectations of Scotland were certainly lower going into this Championship but winning two in a row has lifted spirits and been taken note of.

“Everyone I come across in France is just very happy for us. Everybody in France understands Scottish rugby hAs a rich history and we have been a very important side in the past.

“They regard is as very exciting for Scotland that the team is doing a bit better and we have to keep that going.”

Three straight wins will equal Beattie’s best run in his 19 appearances although he does have a 55.26 success rate compared to his Dad’s return of 46 per cent albeit Beattie snr once shared in four successive Scotland victories.

Certainly he could get use to the way attitudes change with success.

“Reaction to the back to back wins over Italy and France brought messages flooding in like I’d “never experienced befor but Wales have been 
winning away and will be very dangerous.”