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Josh Strauss' Twickenham 2019 confession: 'I'd forgotten my boots, if I had told Gregor he would have blown a gasket'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

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Ask ex-Scotland back row Josh Strauss what his immediate memory is of the spectacular 2019 Twickenham comeback and his mind drifts to the awfully awkward moment that dawned on him shortly after Gregor Townsend’s team had just arrived at the ground for the Guinness Six Nations finale – much to his despair he had forgotten to bring his boots.  


“My first memory is rocking up to Twickenham and for the first time in my career I had forgotten my boots and it was this massive game,” Strauss told RugbyPass when reflecting on the incredible round five encounter in London where Scotland fell 31 points behind after just half an hour before jumping 38-31 ahead and then settling for a 38-all draw.

“If I had told Gregor he would have blown a gasket so I walked over to the 25th man who was Matt Fagerson. He now plays No8 quite often but he was one of the young guys at that stage and I asked if he could give me his boots. That was the first memory of that day.”

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Jonny Wilkinson and Gregor Townsend guest on RugbyPass All Access ahead of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash
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Jonny Wilkinson and Gregor Townsend guest on RugbyPass All Access ahead of Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash

Strauss was a replacement that March Saturday two years ago and he couldn’t believe what unfolded in the opening stages. “We sat on the bench and it’s always a different experience because you’re not as focused from the warm-up because you know you have only got to be firing from the second half onwards. 

“People outside of rugby think when a team gets pumped that they weren’t focused, but the team that started was focused. In the warm-up they were energetic and everything looked right. Then you looked from the bench and it was just a massacre for the first half. They [England] were just absolutely killing us and you sat there thinking, ‘Oh, what has gone wrong?’ 

“You were ready in the warm-up, everything went well. We just sat there on the bench and went, ‘It’s going to be a long day, a very long day’. We walked in at half-time and words were said, people weren’t very happy etc.


“I just remember Finn Russell and us all getting together. They were like, ‘There is nothing we can do, we can’t go any lower than we are now so we have just go to pull together’. People expect this Hollywood speech but it wasn’t really, we just stood there and said we can only go up from here, that wasn’t us and we have just got to pull it together and make this game respectable basically. 

“Obviously we made it a bit more respectable luckily but again it’s not like you know this is going to happen, it’s just everything started clicking in that second half and everything was just going our way like it went England’s way in the first half. 

It was a roller coaster of a game to be part of. When I came on we had scored two or three tries and were back in it, then Sam Johnson scores from this crazy run (for the lead). I say roller coaster because of the euphoria of how well we came back and for them to score that last try was just absolute disappointment.”



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