Saturday 21 September 2019

'Every time I am going on the pitch, I am looking to get better'

The Big Interview: Brian Scott

Brian Scott is hoping for a seamless transition under new coach. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian Scott is hoping for a seamless transition under new coach. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Just over 14 months ago Brian Scott was planning out his rugby future, hoping that a Munster debut was within reach over the coming season, but he never could have predicted the avalanche of first-team and big-game opportunities that would follow.

The 24-year-old tighthead prop hasn't started a match for Munster yet, but with ten games' worth of experience for his province, he got called up to the Barbarians for their historic clash with Tonga at Thomond Park.

Scott started along with his fellow Munster prop James Cronin in the front-row on November 10, and it was another resounding step forward for his professional career.

An experience to remember that will stand to the Munster man as he seeks to break into the first team.

"Playing with the Baa-Baas was unbelievable, and we created so many memories throughout the week. It was a great honour to play with a team like that with so much history," says Scott.

"I never expected to get the call in. But I wanted to make the most of the opportunity, to play in what was basically an international match with five days' notice.

"It was scary at times realising that size of what was in front of me but it was even just great to play with the Connacht lads like Quinn Roux and then other lads from abroad like Willie Britz, Harold Foster, Adriaan Strauss. Those guys were unbelievable, and also to play with Donncha O'Callaghan for the first time was an amazing experience.

"Tonga were ginormous men. I got absolutely thumped at one stage, and felt it for a few days after, but I just got up straight away and got on with my job on the pitch.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

"Playing against guys like that. It's a real physical test but thank God we got the job done."

The Youghal native began rugby as a six-year-old at Dolphin before switching to Highfield, and then on to Youghal. Scott would return to Dolphin after a stint with PBC, where he also played cricket.

He played cricket for Munster at U-13, U-15 and U-17 level, and also lined out for Cork County Cricket Club. But rugby was always his first love, and although Scott still takes time out to watch his former cricket team in action, that has taken the back seat for now.

Another couple of cricket aficionados, Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber, have exited Munster and been replaced by Johann van Graan. And Scott says he is sad to see the departure of the two men who gave him his first chance with the province at senior level.

"The last 18 months has been a roller-coaster ride in Munster but we have learned so much under Rassie and Jacques. That's where my first opportunity came from and I am so grateful to them," says Scott.

Complicated "They teach you little things and make the bigger things a little less complicated. Let you really focus on your own task at the weekend. That's great because you can finish on your individual goals.

"I didn't think anything was going to come off last season for me. I just went into that pre-season saying I would work as hard as I could. Next thing you are playing a couple of games for Munster and it was a childhood dream.

"They helped me make that dream come true and I will be forever grateful for it."

Even though Scott is sad to see two South Africans depart, he knows the incoming head coach is another exciting addition to Munster coaching set-up.

"I find it quite exciting. Johann (van Graan) is going to bring a lot to Munster Rugby. He has similar ideas to Jacques and Rassie. Jerry and Felix are very mature, they know exactly what Munster need at this juncture," says Scott.

"And you can't forget the work those two guys have got through. They are guiding us through and really trying to get individuals to show what they can do.

"I hope it can it can be a seamless transition with him slotting into current plans and adding bits on as we go. This whole transition needs to be good for us to keep moving forward, and keep making things better."

For Scott, after playing for the Barbarians against Tonga, his confidence is now sky high and he wants to capitalise on that with minutes on the pitch for Munster in the coming weeks and months.

Ahead of him are John Ryan and Stephen Archer, two seasoned professionals who have both played for Ireland at senior international level.

It's a daunting prospect for any young No 3, looking to oust two players of that calibre, but Scott has already come so far in Limerick and he is desperate to continue testing the boundaries of his performance levels. Making his Munster debut in their Champions Cup victory over Glasgow at Thomond Park last year, was a dream come true for Scott but there are new dreams on the horizon. First, he wants his first start, and after that he wants to be the main man on the tighthead side of the Munster front-row.

"They are two guys who have been around for a long time. They are a great motivation for me. They have shown that sometimes it might not always go your way but you have to build up resilience and come back," adds Scott.

"You have to be able to be able to perform as a tighthead prop. I want to get past them, and every time I am going on the pitch I am looking to get better and get ahead of them.

"But they are setting the mark high for me at the moment and I enjoy being able to try and get the best out of myself at the moment."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport