WELL the boy Jones has done it! The 23-year-old former Selkirk winger has proved that, even after disappointment, if you can work hard you can get back up there and prove people wrong, writes Stuart Cameron.
That’s exactly what Lee Jones did, and when he was cast aside for a season, he didn’t complain, he re-doubled his efforts and eventually won a contract with Edinburgh Rugby.
But winning a place in the Edinburgh squad was not enough. He wanted to cement a place in the team and get himself in contention for Scotland honours.
And this week that dream came true. The announcement on Tuesday that he was straight into the Scotland side gave so many people a great deal of joy, not to mention Jones himself.
He told TheSouthern: “The squad was called together on Sunday night and Andy Robinson had a flip pad there. When he flipped it over, the line-up for Saturday was on it. My heart was going pretty fast and I just couldn’t take my eyes off my name.”
Jones might be the only new cap in the side, but there are a lot of other youngsters coming up in the background, including former Hawick YM and Hawick player Stuart Hogg, who has enjoyed a whirlwind adventure over a very short period of time, reaching first-team status for Glasgow Warriors and putting himself in the frame for selection for the game on Saturday against England. Hogg has a chance to impress in the Scotland A match against the English Saxons at Netherdale on Friday night.
Robinson knows that losing narrowly is no longer good enough for Scottish Rugby. It is time to win games, and from a Borders perspective each of our top six clubs have provided Scotland with six world class players – Kelly Brown (Melrose) would have won his 50th cap this weekend and led the side out had he not suffered a bad leg injury a couple of weeks ago.
Ross Ford (Kelso) switched from back row to become a British Lions hooker and will lead out the Scotland team against England.
Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest) can count himself very unlucky not to be selected to start for Scotland this weekend, but he will come off the bench and will be gagging to prove what he can do. It was widely leaked that Dan Parks would win his 67th cap on Saturday and while he has his critics, on his day he has won games for Scotland. Two man-of-the-match awards in one season aren’t handed out lightly.
Let’s hope he has a good game. If he doesn’t, Laidlaw will get his chance earlier than expected.
Then there’s Geoff Cross (Gala) who is very much involved with the Scotland set-up and will be on the bench in two days’ time as cover at prop.
Scotland team v England on Saturday: R. Lamont; L. Jones, N. De Luca, S. Lamont, M. Evans; D. Parks, C. Cusiter; A. Jacobsen, R. Ford, E. Murray, R. Gray, J. Hamilton, A. Strokosch, R. Rennie, D. Denton. Subs: S. Lawson, G. Cross, A. Kellock, J. Barclay, M. Blair, G. Laidlaw, G. Morrison.
Scotland A team v English Saxons on Friday night (at Netherdale): S. Hogg; T. Brown, A. Grove, M. Scott, S. Danielli; D. Weir, R. Lawson; J. Welsh, D. Hall, E. Kalman, R. Harley, T. Ryder, S. McInally, C. Fusaro, R. Vernon. Subs: P. MacArthur, Ryan Grant, R. Wilson, Roddy Grant, H. Pyrgos, P. Godman, P. Murchie.
z Follow Stuart Cameron’s column throughout the Six Nations in TheSouthern.