I am in Invercargill watching the Scotland team go through their preparations for their first match in the 2011 IRB World Cup and throughout the tournament I’ll be giving you an insight into how things are shaping up as the boys buckle down to what could be a fantastic event for the country.
It is amazing how a bit of success can lift a nation and the squad can play a huge part in promoting the game north of the border if they do well.
As well as penning this column, exclusively for The Southern Reporter, I am also part of the TalkSPORT Radio team which includes Gavin Hastings, David Campese, Brian Moore and John Taylor – yes, the man who scored that last-second conversion for Wales to beat us in 1971. I must have words with him about that!
Just so you don’t get caught out, let me remind you that New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the UK, which means that the kick-off time for the game against Romania is 1.30am BST on Saturday morning.
TalkSPORT will be broadcasting live from every match on 1053 and 1089AM, as well as Sky TV Channel 0108. If you have one of those all-singing and all-dancing iPhones (or equivalent) you can watch or listen by downloading the free app for TalkSPORT or FilmOn TV which gets you free TV on your phone.
ITV will also be broadcasting each match live. So there really is no excuse to miss a single minute of this year’s tournament.
As I write, the team has not been announced yet, but I expect Andy Robinson to start with his strongest line-up to give them a good run out.
Romania should not present us with any problems, but the one everyone seems to be worried about is Georgia (Wednesday, September 14, 8am). They are a strong, physical side, but surely we should take them without any real problem.
Let’s hope for two good workmanlike performances from the boys – whoever plays in these games will have the opportunity to put their hand up to play against Argentina and England.
The third game is against the South Americans on Sunday, September 25 (8am) and then there’s the big one against England on Saturday, October 1, at 8am. Some of our local clubs are running special breakfast events for the England match, so check out your own club for arrangements for that.