Hamilton targeting soothing victory

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Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Scotland have endured a bruising campaign in this year’s RBS 6 Nations – but Jim Hamilton insists one win against Ireland will sooth their wounds.

Despite showing flashes of progress there has been little relief for the Scots after suffering the pain of successive defeats against France, Wales, Italy and then England last week.

But 60-cap lock Hamilton insists Scotland can deflate title-chasing Ireland’s party mood and start the healing process with a victory when they host their final game of this year’s Championships at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The 32-year–old Saracens forward said: “We want to get that win this weekend. We put everything in and all we want is that win.

“You want that minute of euphoria at the end of the game to understand why you have put your body through it all.

“You come off the pitch and you are bashed about. Your fingers are broken, the back is gone. You’ve got black eyes and stitches. What’s it all for? To win a game of rugby.

“When you don’t get that the first time, then again, it’s tough. So when you’re four games in and you still haven’t had it, you need to be mentally strong.

“We understand there are good bits and bad bits in our performances, but we need that final win. However, I’m sure we will get that at the weekend.”

Summarising Scotland’s display from the Six Nations so far is a balancing act, with brief moments in the Stade de France and Twickenham where Vern Cotter’s side have sparkled countered by a host of needless penalties and missed chances which have ultimately cost them in all four fixtures.

It is a familiar story as the Scots face down the possibility of their third Six Nations whitewash since 2004.

But Hamilton insists these last six weeks should not prompt another bout of soul searching ahead of this year’s World Cup.

The former Leicester and Edinburgh second-rower – who starts alongside Jonny Gray – said: “This is my ninth Six Nations and I remember the years before where we have played extremely well and not got the results.

“I won’t say we haven’t deserved what we have got because I firmly believe if you deserve to win, most of the time you will.

“But it does feel very different with the players we have got, the age of the group and even having Vern, a fantastic coach, in charge.

“The most positive thing for this squad is the youngsters coming through. Jonny, Adam Ashe, Fraser Brown, Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and many more – this is something we haven’t had before.

“We’ve had individuals who have shown the potential to be good before but now we have genuinely got some unbelievable talent coming through who are starting to do the business – we just need to tie it all together.

“They are at a different level to anything I’ve seen before.

“Look at What Stuart Hogg has done. I think Jonny is only 21, which makes me feel old, and look at what he has done in the space of 12 caps. Then there’s Adam Ashe too. The future for this squad definitely looks bright.

“I’m not paying lip-service to this. I genuinely believe that.”

Cotter has made two changes from the side defeated 25-13 in London, with Ashe promoted from the bench to take Rob Harley’s slot in the back row, while prop Ryan Grant also comes in to take Alasdair Dickinson’s front-row spot.

Hamilton does not know how much longer he will be able to keep hold of his own jersey – but even if he is forced out by the new generation, he wants to make sure he leaves his mark on them.

“I still hope that in five year’s time when I’m not wearing the jersey but Johnny is, there will still be a piece of me in there, a piece that is helping him,” he said.

“Hopefully the skills I have given to Johnny or Grant Gilchrist and Tim Swinson will rub off on them and we can become an unbelievable rugby nation.

“I ‘ve got a huge role to play helping these guys to come through with the experience I’ve got winning for Scotland and losing.

“Johnny is a fantastic player but he is nowhere near the finished article. But there are bits of my game which I can give him and help him develop.

“I want to do that. I don’t want to be 70 caps down the road and not give anything back to these boys.”

Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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