Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Adam Hastings determined to seize his World Cup opportunity

Hastings has tasted just two minutes of action during last Monday’s win over Samoa.

Adam Hastings is eager to seize his chance (Adam Davy/PA)
Adam Hastings is eager to seize his chance (Adam Davy/PA)

By Andy Newport, PA, Kobe

Adam Hastings is determined to grasp his moment in the World Cup limelight as he finally gets set to step out of Scotland star Finn Russell’s shadow.

Rugby round up Newsletter

Game previews, plus expert insights and exclusive commentary from the Belfast Telegraph sports team.

The Glasgow stand-off admits he travelled to Japan knowing full well that he would be consigned to the role of understudy to the Racing 92 maverick.

But he should be given the starring role against Russia in the Scots’ latest make-or-break clash as Gregor Townsend is forced to keep his top performers back for their potentially decisive Pool A showdown with Japan just four days later.

And Hastings – who has tasted just two minutes of action during last Monday’s win over Samoa – wants to make the most of his opportunity to shine in Shizuoka.

He said: “It’s obviously kind of tough. Finn is such a quality player. He’s running the ship week in, week out.

“I’m in a good position to learn from him and I was at Glasgow the year before. He’s matured a lot during his time in France so it’s been good rubbing shoulders with him again.

“Hopefully I’ll get a bit of game time soon.

“You definitely do have to get yourself prepped mentally for the situation I’m in. I enjoyed a lot of minutes with Glasgow last season, playing week in, week out most of the season.

bpanews_c2c58009-16b2-49b6-acb7-ba8a72cbb43a_embedded241648232
Russell (pictured) is ahead of Hastings in the pecking order (Jane Barlow/PA)

“But I suppose I knew I wasn’t going to be playing much out here.

“I was on the bench last week but I would have liked a bit more game time but we were pushing for that fourth try so I understand you need boys like Finn on the park.

“If I do get an opportunity against Russia then I know I definitely need to try to make my mark. There’s been a lot spoken about our last game against Japan but the fact is that if we don’t turn up against Russia, Japan won’t matter.

“If I am playing I’ll be very up for it, itching to go.”

Hastings insists he feels no pressure to emulate Russell’s cavalier style of play and he knows a thing or two about dealing with the weight of expectation given his family history.

When he replaced Russell at the Misaki Stadium he followed in the footsteps of his dad Gavin – who starred at three World Cups for Scotland – to ensure they became the first father and son to both appear in the tournament.

It's a nice moment obviously, because it's been a lifelong dream. I've wanted to come play at a World Cup since I was a little boy Adam Hastings

He still has some distance to go to live up to Hastings Snr, a former British and Irish Lions captain, but he has plenty of time to make his own name in the game.

“Dad told me that the other day (we’re the first father and son at World Cup) so that’s pretty cool,” he said. “He said ‘well done’ – I said ‘well done’ as well!

“It’s a nice moment obviously, because it’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve wanted to come play at a World Cup since I was a little boy.

“I remember I went to the 2007 World Cup in Paris and we were at the third-fourth place play-off, we were watching France versus Argentina and I said ‘I want to play in a World Cup’ and that was it.

“So we’re here and I did that the other night, which was nice.

bpanews_c2c58009-16b2-49b6-acb7-ba8a72cbb43a_embedded21250566
Adam joined his father Gavin (centre) in appearing at a World Cup – the first father and son to do so (PA)

“It’s like all stages of your career, when you first get your professional debut, you just want to do it again straight away. I’ve played in a World Cup game and I want to play more because it’s the biggest stage, the pinnacle of international sport. Hopefully, I get back out there.”

The Scots bounced back from their horror show against Ireland to beat Samoa in Kobe on Monday and keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

Hastings – who turns 23 on Saturday – admits the Dark Blues’ lack of consistency can be bewildering at times.

“Sometimes it’s tough to put your finger on why these results happen,” he added. “We can be bloody brilliant at times, at other times you’re thinking, ‘What the f*** are we doing?’

“That happens with all teams. You’re not always going to be so consistent. The best teams are consistent. It’s just within us. We’ve spoken about the fact we can focus on other teams but at the end of the day it comes down to us and what we’re doing.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph