Jaco - confidence key to second-half comeback
Stand-off Jaco van der Walt sent four nerveless kicks through the sticks to secure a round two Heineken Champions Cup win over Sale Sharks in Manchester yesterday.
The newly-capped Scotland 10 was guilty of an uncharacteristic third-minute miss in the gusty AJ Bell Stadium but – facing a 12-0 deficit – the visitors rallied after the interval and battled back into a match.
Van der Walt shrugged off his miss to add the extras to Mark Bennett’s 52nd minute try and followed with a trio of three pointers, the third of which edged his men one point in front with nine minutes to spare.
It’s was a tough first half but you must be pleased with a better second 40?
“The first half we struggled a bit and obviously didn’t play as we wanted but, in the second-half, we came through and we pulled it off.
Were you always confident despite the 12-0 deficit?
“Yeah definitely, it’s a big part of our game. You need to stay confident, otherwise it’ll go past you.
“We stayed confident and came out guns blazing in the second-half, stuck to our structures and did well.”
After the early miss, that must have been a nerve-racking kick at the end to take the lead late on for the win?
“I miss-judged the wind a bit in the first half with my first kicks but second-half was better. I just stayed calm and it went well. I’m not complaining!”
It’s been a busy few weeks for you, on and off the pitch. How do you feel?
“It’s gone well for me. It’s been a bit overwhelming.
“You just have to stay in the process, stay calm and focus on the next job. Obviously my job here is to play for Edinburgh and obviously get the wins for Edinburgh.
“I just need to focus on that and we’ll be good.”
You must be disappointed not to have the 1872 Cup derby to look forward to but presumably that means more family time over Christmas?
“It’s disappointing because the Glasgow games are always big and it’s important for the boys to play against them but it’s also good for us to spend some time with the family.
“Some boys have come out of a seven week [Scotland] camp so it’s good for them to get a rest.
“Hopefully we’ll be good next weekend, spend some time with the family and come back guns blazing and all focussed.”
Yesterday’s win over Sale was a big one for the club. Can a result like that be a catalyst?
“I definitely hope so. We’re a confident team.
“We just need to get back to training, stay confident and prepare well for the next couple of weeks”
And finally this will be your first Christmas as a married man – finished your shopping?
“it’s good, yeah I’m excited and no, that’s a problem – don’t tell my Mrs please!”