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Beattie looks to the future

Scotland forward Johnnie Beattie insists blooding fresh talent was more important than the two defeats the Dark Blues suffered on their summer tour of South Africa.

Scott Johnson's men suffered their first ever defeat to Samoa in the Quad Series opener in Durban before putting up a brave show as they lost to the hosts in Nelspruit. A complete whitewash was only avoided in the third-place play-off with Italy as Alasdair Strokosch darted over for a last-ditch try to secure a narrow 30-29 win at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

But on the positive side, 10 uncapped players were given their first taste of international action. And Beattie said: "The main thing was to try and win the three games we had but we were also there to broaden our base of players and introduce some young kids into the squad."

He added: "Individually, it was important to see how those boys got on. As Johnno said we were happier with our performance against South Africa but lost the game. We won against Italy but were disappointed with our performance. We got one victory in the end but it was more important to see how those guys got on. That was where the value of the tour was."

Edinburgh full-back Greig Tonks and the Glasgow Warriors duo of centre Alex Dunbar and hooker Pat MacArthur earned their first Scotland honours by starting against the Samoans, while Tonk's Edinburgh team-mate Steven Lawrie, Warriors' Peter Horne and Duncan Taylor of Saracens made their international bows from the bench.

The Glasgow trio of full-back Peter Murchie, wing Tommy Seymour and lock Tim Swinson then started against South Africa. And their Scotstoun colleague Fraser Brown rounded off the list on 10 new caps when he replaced Scott Lawson at hooker in the final game against the Azzurri.

There was concern though for Scotland after the squad sustained a number of injuries - including Horne, who is set for a nine-month lay-off after rupturing knee ligaments against the Springboks. But Beattie says the new faces in the squad are welcome additions with Test dates against Japan, South Africa and Australia to come in November.

He said: "I thought the boys who got their chance did fantastic. The main positive for the tour for me was getting to know different people on a personal level, but also seeing how they got on in a Test environment.

"It gives Johnno and the coaching team lots of different options looking ahead to the World Cup. We were tested by injuries quite severely but the boys who did get their chance stuck their hands up well.

"There are big opportunities to come back and beat some big nations in the Autumn internationals. But it will be more difficult too as there is more competition in a few different positions and it will be harder to get in the side."


From Belfast Telegraph