Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

High spirits helped Scots - Grant

Ryan Grant is happy with the morale around the Scotland squad

Forward Ryan Grant claims laughter was the best medicine for Scotland as several defeats left the players sick of the sight of each other.

The Glasgow prop admits last year's RBS 6 Nations Wooden Spoon served up a nasty atmosphere that dragged the national team down even further. That reached a nadir when Tonga's 21-15 autumn international win stunned former boss Andy Robinson and his side.

"There have been times in the past when you are losing and it was a downhill spiral," Grant told Press Association Sport. "It's not a fun place to be. You don't look forward to being in camp, you don't look forward to coming together."

Robinson was replaced by ebullient interim head coach Scott Johnson, while Grant claims the arrival of the Australian and a number of youthful new recruits to the Scotland squad has finally managed to raise a smile on sullen faces and sparked an upturn in form.

The Scots face Wales at Murrayfield on Saturday hoping to notch up their third triumph on the bounce following wins over Italy and Ireland and, in the process, keep their Six Nations title chances alive.

Grant added: "There has been a lot of changes in the squad over the last year or so, with a lot of new faces coming in as well as Scott taking over. But it is quite refreshing. It's good to get young boys in because they bring a bit of life into camp, a bit of banter.

"It's the same on the pitch. They are so keen and are ready to do anything to win a game. It does help the atmosphere that we are winning games again. Now the place is a lot more enjoyable. We've got all the young lads bursting about the place. Morale is good, we're winning games. Can't complain."

Johnson's squad for Saturday's meeting with Rob Howley's Welsh side contains 11 Glasgow players - including Grant - but just five from Edinburgh. But despite the fierce rivalry sparked by their RaboDirect PRO12 clashes, Grant insists the group are able to pull together for the good of the nation.

"When the 1872 Cup is around, they are my worst enemies," he said. "But really I get on with everyone. Me and Fordy (Ross Ford) get on really well, we are room-mates now.

"I used to live with Greigy too. The rest of the boys are the same. It's an easy transition because we have all played with them before. It's just like catching up with old mates."

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