HAVING made a remarkably speedy ascent up the Scottish rugby ladder to within grasping distance of full international recognition, Ali Price had to wait an awful long time to get his hands on his first cap.
The 23-year-old scrum-half, who started the season as back-up to Henry Pyrgos at Glasgow Warriors, was not initially part of the national squad for this year’s Autumn Test series but was invited along to train with the group. Head coach Vern Cotter liked what he saw and had no qualms about naming the youngster on the bench as cover for Greig Laidlaw for each of the three matches in the series.
The Kiwi coach may have trusted Price enough as emergency back-up but was not prepared to take his talismanic skipper off in tight contests against Australia and Argentina during the last fortnight to give the new kid on the block his international bow, which meant there was 233 minutes of nervously sitting on the bench waiting for his big moment to arrive before finally getting his chance with seven minutes of this weekend’s match against Georgia still to go.
Having waited so long, Price was ready and raring to go, as he proved with virtually his first touch of the ball – taking a quick tap penalty to launch a thrilling attack which ended with Stuart Hogg scoring the team’s sixth try and ensure that the match finished on a high after a largely disappointing second half.
“This whole camp, I’ve been told that if I get my chance to just go out there and express myself. I pride myself on the speed of my game and taking opportunities, and when there’s 70 minutes on the clock and the opposition are tiring then I want to just give it a crack,” he said.
“I like to think I am quite a confident player. I was confident I knew our shape and the way we wanted to play even though I hadn’t featured before. It is just another game of rugby and regardless of who it is against I was always going to take that chance.”
“Obviously it’s frustrating [spending so long on the bench] but I think this whole month has been a brilliant experience for me. It was my first time involved in the national set-up and I really enjoyed every minute of it. We had two close games and I just had to bide my time, but I was over the moon to get on today and we finished off the series really well,” he added.
Price’s reward for all this was the dubious privilege of singing a song to the rest of the team on the bus after the match. It is safe to say that his taste in music is not quite as sharp as his eye for a gap on the rugby field.
“I think I’m going to go for an Adele number – Someone Like You. It’s the only one I know the words to because it’s slow enough,” he revealed.
Price, who was born and raised in East Anglia, qualifies for Scotland through his Edinburgh born mother, Carol, and has extended family living in Troon. He has worn the thistle at under 20s level, and has been on the books at the Warriors since 2013 after moving north from Bradford Blues.
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