Press Pass with Duncan Hodge
Get the latest from Attack Coach Duncan Hodge as he spoke with press ahead of Sunday's Guinness PRO14 match-up with Benetton at BT Murrayfield.
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On the signing of Ben Vellacott
“Ben's obviously a high-quality player. He’s played in some good teams, and he’ll be a great addition for us. He’s a livewire of a scrum-half, very good technically, very fit, so I think he’s a great signing.”
On the scrum-half position moving forward
“It’s always one of these things. It is tough, and we’ve had a bit of it this year with the three we’ve got as well.
“It’s like any position. It’s heightened sometimes with national stuff as well, and it’s feast or famine.
For example looseheads, we’re all right just now, but when they all go away we’ve got not many, when they come back we’ve got too many. That’s part of the issue you sometimes have with the national team.
“It’s part of the job to have a programme where you’re trying to keep everyone happy and develop people and rest people. Just keep people fresh and motivated as well.
“It’s not an easy thing to do. Players are players - they want to play, don’t they? Yet you can only have generally one playing and one on the bench every week, so it is tough.”
On whether Vellacott's signing will impact the team's style of attack
“No. It’s one of these things that seems to get labelled. This year has been tough, but certainly our scrum-halves are slightly different.
"I think I’m right in saying we scored the most tries in our league last year, so our attack wasn’t lacking then. It has been tough this year, missing certain players. I think at the minute we kick the ball the least in our league.
“But we strive to get better. We’re playing on our new fantastic pitch, it’s a great surface, we’ve been training on there. It will lend itself to someone like Ben, you would think.
"That’s yet to be known. I’m sure he will be a great addition and he will definitely add something to the squad.”
On Glasgow Warriors' Adam Hastings red card having a knock-on effect in national selection
“We’ve got a coaches WhatsApp group and when something like that happens, you know the knock-on effect filters down, so its tough. With only two pro teams, it affects you.
“I don’t know what will happen with Adam. Hopefully Jaco will be available for us. It’s a fallow week and he probably needs some rugby, but post that I genuinely have now idea."
On Nathan Chamberlain's progress
“It’s been a real eye-opener for Nathan but he’s progressed really well. He’s potentially not had as much game-time as he would like.
"Ten is one of those positions that when games are tight – and we’ve had a lot of tight games – it is sometimes difficult to throw people in at the deep-end.
“We would have likes him to get a bit more game time. That’s not happened but certainly in terms of training we were saying this week how well he’s done, and he has really developed in his seven or eight months at the club.
“He’s still only a young ten and it is a pretty hard trade just now with the way the game is – the weather we’ve played in and the way it’s reffed – there’s a lot on the 9 and 10s shoulders. So it has been a steep learning curve for him.”
On lack of FOSROC Super6 rugby having an effect on development
“Its’s just such a shame. Guys like Matt Currie, Harry Paterson, Nathan, Roan Frostwick, Ben Muncaster. I mean, Matt Currie hadn’t played since last March before that A game.
"That’s an academy player, one of the bright young prospects, and he’s played one game of rugby in a year. So, it has been tough for those guys and it has been tough for us because we want to see those guys lay and develop.
“Hopefully we get some additional rugby this year and we can see some of these guys play, because we need to get some of these guys through. It’s as simple as that.
“Not playing – and it is nobody’s fault – has been a blow to everyone."
On the club's recruitment ahead of 2021-22
“We’ve got some good guys coming in and managed to hold onto some important players, so that’s positive.
“It is always tough juggling a budget so we’ll see where we’re at come the end of the season.
“Hopefully it is a fairly stable squad we can get together and have a good training block with to crack on for the rest of this season and into next season.”