The London Scottish website caught up this week with former London Scottish, Scotland, Barbarians and British Lions captain Gavin Hastings in the run up to the Calcutta Cup. The Q & A session focused on Gavin’s time at the club, his international career and we look forward to the prospects for Sunday’s Calcutta Cup match.
IA – Let’s start by asking what are your first memories of playing at the club?
GH – I first came down to London Scottish in the 1985/86 season whilst I was still at Cambridge University. Trevor Borthwick and I used to drive down for training and matches on a Saturday. I always remember the great atmosphere at the club and the social activities that were always going on around the club at the time. That season I got my first cap against France, when we won 18 – 17 and I always remember the reception I received when I got back to the club.
IA – Which game do you remember most when you were at London Scottish and why?
GH – The most memorable game I played in at London Scottish was the 1986 home match in the John Player Cup Quarter Final against Gloucester. There was a very large crowd packed into the RAA and Gloucester at the time had a great reputation in the forwards. During the warm up, prop John Fraser pulled his hamstring and replacement John Reid came in and did a fantastic job, as did all the other forwards. We won the game and played Wasps in the Semi-Final, but unfortunately lost.
IA – Who was the best player you played with at the club?
GH – During my time at the club I played with a host of great players, but the one who stands out for me is back row forward Jerry MacKlin. Jerry played for Scotland B, but never made the full side. In those days Jerry worked for a multi-national corporation and spent a lot of time abroad and used to fly back to the UK from exotic places to turn out for London Scottish on the Saturday and then return back on the Sunday, a tremendous commitment to the club.
IA – What's the funniest story you could impart that’s safe to tell about any of the characters at the club when you were here?
GH – In my early days at the club I used to share a place with Dave Buchanan and we used to have what we called the Bug Steak Rave, when most of the team descended on our place. Lots of alcohol was consumed and we all had a great time on the social front, with the parties assuming legendary status latterly.
IA – What is your favourite memory of the Calcutta Cup and why?
GH – I played in 10 Calcutta Cup matches, but only won two of these. The first victory was my first game against England in the 1986 match at Murrayfield in the record breaking 33 – 6 win. I scored 5 penalties and 3 conversions with a 100% strike rate. I didn't think I would have to wait another 4 years to taste success, but the 1990 Grand Slam victory is my favourite game, when we beat the “Auld Enemy” 13 – 7 again up at Murrayfield.
IA – Scotland have not had the best of starts in this seasons Six Nations. What prediction would you like to make for Sunday's Calcutta Cup match?
GH – Yes, Scotland have not turned in good performances, but Sunday's match is a one off, especially as the Calcutta Cup is up for grabs. It all depends on which Scotland team turns up on the day. I just hope it's the feeling that Scotland could just sneak a narrow victory, but regardless Scotland will certainly raise their game for this match.
IA – Finally, London Scottish has made tremendous strides in returning to the upper echelons of the game and are currently top of National League 1. Anything you would like to say on this?
GH – I follow the results of London Scottish closely from afar and I am still very interested in what is going on at the club – once a London Scot always a London Scot. I am very impressed with all the great work that is taking place both on and off the pitch. It would be a tremendous achievement if the club gains promotion to the Championship this season, as Scottish rugby needs a vibrant London Scottish club. The team is playing with confidence and it is great to see a good number of young Scottish players continuing the great traditions of the club.
Many thanks Gavin for taking time out to speak with the website and it will be great to have you around the club again at the weekend.