Thanks to Dove Men + Care, Scottish Rugby Blog readers Janette and Alec got the rare opportunity to watch the Captain’s Run before Scotland’s match against Argentina. We joined them as they went behind the scenes at BT Murrayfield to learn about the players’ preparation.
Ably led by Scottish Rugby legend Chris Paterson, our competition readers got the chance to watch the team train, have a look inside a (surprisingly clean) changing room and, of course, meet the players that helped Scotland towards a fourth consecutive win against Argentina on Saturday.
First up was a chat with Scottish Rugby Ambassador Chris Paterson who explained the crucial differences with this training session compared to others throughout the week. With it being the day before a game, contact is kept to a minimum and the session mainly provides an opportunity for the players, and in particular kickers, to get used to the playing surface.
This is crucial for the away team who must familiarise themselves with what is probably an unfamiliar pitch. However, one added dimension may be the prospect of ‘spies’ looking to spot any new set piece moves. As a result, it is often requested that the blinds in the hospitality boxes are closed.
With the players out braving the cold November morning, now was the opportunity to follow Kit Manager John (‘Cookie’) Pennycuick into the changing room. Unlike during normal stadium tours, the changing room was actually in use by the Scotland team, resulting in an unexpected appearance from Ritchie Gray who appeared rather surprised to find us there!
It was perhaps when meeting Cookie that we discovered exactly what was required to maintain a professional rugby player. Everything from their kit to their nutrition is planned out, allowing the players to focus purely on what happens on the pitch, making the most of any marginal gains which may improve performance.
Back out on the pitch and the team were coming to the end of their training session with most players now focusing on individual skills. After chatting with our competition winners and signing autographs, the players headed off to recover before fulfilling any final media requirements.
As part of the competition, Janette and Alec also won tickets to the game itself the following day. With this being an evening match, they got to experience the ‘lights out’ show prior to kick off, helping to build the special atmosphere BT Murrayfield match days have become known for. Certainly the stadium felt very different to the day before with an extra 50,000 supporters in the stands!
This was undoubtedly a very special day for our winners who got a rare opportunity to see the national team in preparation for game day as well as meeting some of those who make the whole set up run so smoothly. Our thanks again to Dove Men+Care and Scottish Rugby for arranging this.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SCRUMTOGETHER @Dovemen to show your support for Scotland over this weekend when they face Georgia!