As we approach Christmas, we spoke to Phil ‘Christmas’ Cringle about the lead up to the festive season, his loathing of New Year and London Scottish’s disappointing 2017.
Phil arrived at the Scots before the 2016/17 season from French side US Carcassonne, a big scenery change for 120 kilogram prop, “it’s a very different place to London” Cringle chuckles. Since joining last year Cringle has made 29 appearances for Scottish in total and has been a near ever-present this season under Dave Morris.
“I didn’t get much game time last year, I seemed to be playing off the bench a lot last year but I am buzzing this year to be getting a lot of pitch time. Obviously, results have not been going our way so that’s annoying and disappointing but we still have a long way to go. When we play the way we can, we tear teams apart but the amount of self-inflicted errors we are making is killing us and costing us games.”
Looking ahead to the pre-Christmas game this weekend against Bedford Blues, Cringle is very aware of Bedford’s potent attacking threat out wide in the backs but knows that the Scots are more than capable of turning over their 3rd placed rivals.
“Looking forward to the game, of course Bedford have a very quick backline and are big up front so we will have to be smart in how we play and not give any easy opportunities to this side as we know they are more than capable of taking them. I have no doubt in my mind though that if we execute our strategy and each player does their job, we can come out of this game with the win.”
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Hailing from the Isle of Man, Cringle spoke very fondly of his homeland and the pivotal role it played in his rugby development.
“I attended Kirkham Grammar School, I was supported by the Isle of Man when I went there. They offer sport aid to people trying to chase their dreams in a sporting environment. I was given a scholarship by the Sports Institute and was supported by a very generous man, Albert Gubay, which is something I am eternally grateful for. I owe a lot to the Isle of Man, or ‘paradise’ as I like to call it, for where I am today.”
Cringle unfortunately won’t have time to return to home over the Christmas period due to the Bedford and Nottingham games being so close to the 25th but he will return back to his family farm in the New Year.
“I am spending Christmas Day with my girlfriend and her family up north in Preston which will be lovely and then I’ll make it over to the Isle of Man for our week off in the first week of 2018.”
Cringle knows too well that when he returns to his family farm in 2018 it will not be the ‘week off’ he is looking for. “I’ll be working hard on the farm, up early in the morning feeding the sheep and cows and generally helping where I can.”
After the away game to Nottingham, who Cringle says, “we owe one to” after the nail-biting two point loss at the RAG earlier this year where a Scottish try was not given in the final seconds, Cringle heads back to Isle of Man for New Year’s celebrations. However, when New Year’s festivities where brought up, a dark cloud seemed to eclipse the interview…
“New Year is a classic example of over hype. Everyone bigs it up to be one of the best nights of the year yet it always ends up being a let down. The New Years I have had were when I was a teenager and we used to go to house parties, you expected much but they always delivered class nights.”
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Despite Phil’s unenthusiastic declarations about New Year, he did admit that he would most likely be spending his New Year with his mate Patrick. Patrick Gandy is one of Cringle’s keenest followers. Every team Phil is announced in, Patrick Gandy will be seen commenting congratulating his best mate Cringle. Keep your eyes peeled for Gandy and his avid following of his mate on our Facebook page.
Despite being only his second season at London Scottish, Cringle has taken on a senior role with the club and is looked upon as a vital component to the first team squad. He will be hoping he can kickstart the fellow Scottish forwards into a dominant display versus Bedford this weekend