Being dealt a massive blow in the run up to the six nations rising stand-off star Ruaridh Jackson talks to Naomi Mills over his thoughts on his injury and the Scotland team.
With the Referendum the hot topic on every ones minds and Scotland’s future within the UK extremely uncertain the script for the opening weekend of this year’s Six Nations seems like a product of manufacture. The opening match will see Andy Robinson’s side take on their Auld Enemy in what looks to be a palm sweating tournament opener.
With the announcement of Robinson’s 36 man squad in early January, Glasgow Warriors star Ruaridh Jackson was set to impress right from the off. But a sportsman’s worst nightmare struck as he endured a hamstring injury during the team’s RaboDirectPro12 defeat to Scarlets.
The 23 year old International has big ambitions and was devastated when realization struck that starting for Scotland squad tomorrow would be a no go.
Jackson admitted: “When you’re going through periods of bad injury it can get pretty low, it’s a pretty lonely place.
“Injuries are always difficult; it’s hard to connect with your team during it.
“If they’re winning you don’t really feel part of the team and if you lose then you wish you were out there helping.”
The Scotland Coach’s decision to call up Phil Godman to the Scotland side also dealt another blow for Jackson in competing to wear the number ten jersey but the International admirably only showed respect to his position rival: “I’m sure if he comes in he’ll do a great job, he’s done some great things in the past and he’s a quality player.
“He’s one of the most skillful guys I’ve played with and trained against and I’m sure he’ll do a quality job for Scotland.”
But Jackson is determined that the extra pressure to compete for his position in the squad will only drive him on: “If there’s no competition then you don’t move yourself on as a player.”
Despite having not played for six weeks Ruaridh still holds high hopes for himself during the Six Nations and remains excited to see how some of Scotland’s up and coming talent will fair:
“A lot of the youngsters this year have put their hands up which is always exciting and a few of the young squad could get their first cap this season, which is very exciting.
“Young Stuart Hogg has been playing awesome for Glasgow and if he gets his chance then I’m sure he’ll do a grand job. He’s one of the best players I’ve seen of late, just with his skills and his pace he is definitely one for the future.
With Ulster winger Simon Danielli also set to miss the opening battle the Scotland side look like they will be feeling the heat from the off. Jackson agreed that by no means will the rest of the tournament prove plain sailing: “The Irish back row have been playing awesome, the likes of Steven Ferris for Ulster has been an absolute wrecking ball so if he’s fit for the Six Nations then he could do some serious damage.”
The headache of the first-choice stand-offs injury not only poses problems for Andy Robinson but for Jackson’s winning dreams. Through some serious rehabilitation on his hamstring he hopes an impressive appearance in the Six Nations will still be possible. He believes his strong relationship with his fellow Scotland team mates will spur him on through the hardship of injury and help him back to full strength:
“There are some real good guys in the squad and I’ve got good relationships with a lot of them. Dan Parks, although in the past few years we’ve both been challenging for that “Number Ten” jersey, has been great to me.
“Chris Cussiter, a fellow Robert Gordon’s boy, is one of the most professional guys I’ve ever worked with.
“His attitude and will to win is just absolutely amazing and if that can rub off on the team overall then we’ll do some really great things this year.”
Despite the likelihood of his absence from the Six Nations opener, Jackson has every faith in his Scotland team-mates and believes the key will be in that opening match: “We’ll be taking it game by game and hopefully if we can get off to a win against England then that will put us on good stead to move forward.”