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'He is fully converted now. I brought him over'

By PA
Man-of-the-match, Scotland's number 8 Jack Dempsey (centre left) in the maul during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 18, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Australia international Jack Dempsey has “fully converted” his father to the Scotland cause as he prepares for his second World Cup with a different team.

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Dempsey admitted last year that his father was not too impressed with his decision to switch allegiances to Scotland ahead of his debut for Gregor Townsend’s side in the autumn internationals.

The 29-year-old flanker qualified for Scotland through his maternal grandfather, who hailed from Glasgow, and he joined the city’s Warriors in 2021 before extending his contract this summer.

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A trip to Edinburgh for two Guinness Six Nations games saw Dempsey’s father fully embrace the move.

Speaking from Scotland’s pre-World Cup training camp in the south of France, Dempsey said: “He is fully converted now. I brought him over. My uncle, my dad and my mum, they all came over during the Six Nations and got to experience that for the first time.

“Back in Australia there is nothing like the Six Nations in terms of the spectacle and all the history of the rivalry for such a long time.

“To see that and be part of the atmosphere at Murrayfield, it was the Ireland and Italy games… My dad was fully kitted out, head to toe, I gave him all the kit. He was singing the anthem. He didn’t know the words but I think he was just making them up.

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“He loved it, mate. He is fully on board. And mum, with her Scottish links, has always been on board.”

Dempsey is looking to banish painful memories of Japan 2019 and he is joined by many of his team-mates.

The back-row forward, who is gearing up for pool games against Ireland, South Africa, Tonga and Romania, said: “It was disappointing in that campaign in ’19 with Australia. We got pretty beaten up in the quarter-final by England and sent home quick.

“It’s something you have been building for since you were 12 or 13, and every four years you sit down with your family and watch the World Cup. It’s the pinnacle of the sport.

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“You build as a professional with that as the aim and to get that far and fall so short and be disappointed…

“To get a second crack at that, obviously for me it’s a different environment completely, but it’s something you want to rectify.

“That’s what drives you, not only to make it but be successful and look back when you are 40, 50, 60 years old and have fond memories.”

Dempsey has been sharing World Cup memories with Scotland players who went out after the pool stage.

“I remember watching when Hamish (Watson) did his knee, we were all watching in the Australia squad,” he said.

“That was a big loss and they had some disappointing results against Ireland and Japan.

“Four years on there is that Scottish sense of humour, they look back with that dark sense of humour. But it still drives a lot of the individuals who are still part of the group.

“A lot of people say those results are why we have such a hard group now. But we like being the underdog and be able to prove the haters wrong and that’s the position we are in and we look forward to the challenge.”

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William 3 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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