'There is no better feeling': Scotland's Sam Johnson dreaming of rugby fans' return following Rangers celebrations
Sam Johnson has jumped on the Rangers bandwagon and now the Scotland centre hopes to help Gregor Townsend’s team get their Guinness Six Nations bid rolling again. The Australia-born Glasgow ace has girlfriend Eilidh to thank for adopting Steven Gerrard’s title winners as his favourite football team following his move to Scotland in 2015.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has lambasted the club over the wild weekend celebrations which marred their crowning as kings of Scotland for the first time in a decade. But the sight of thousands of fans gathering at Ibrox has got Queenslander Johnson dreaming of the day when fans can return to rugby grounds as well as soccer stadiums.
The Scotland ace – who qualifies on residency grounds – said: “My partner and her parents are season-ticket holders at Rangers and big Rangers supporters. I jumped on the bandwagon too. I actually live next door to (Rangers defender) Filip Helander but I’m a bit too scared to say hello and well done. I’d say that I’m more of a bandwagon supporter than anything else.
“When it’s legal and appropriate to do so it would be nice to get back to that sort of thing (with fans cheering us on). I suppose they are getting a bit of stick from the government which is not for me to comment on. But hopefully soon we can get back to having fans in the stadium soon and enjoy rugby a lot more.
“There is no better feeling. I actually think to an extent the adrenalin you get from having fans in the stadium affects performance. It is hard to do that, build that artificial energy that you hear on the pitch, so the quicker the fans can come back the better.”
'You don’t want what happened in the autumn when France played their second or third team'https://t.co/vZWS0OopqF
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Johnson, who signed a Glasgow contract extension in January, will disembark the Gers bandwagon this week as he looks to get Scotland motoring again on Sunday. Victory over England in this year’s Six Nations opener saw the Dark Blues record four straight championship wins for the first time since 1990, but they have hit a bump in the road since that famous Twickenham triumph.
A potential win against Wales was thrown away after Zander Fagerson’s red card while they have now been left playing catch-up with the rest of the competing nations after their clash with France in Paris was postponed. They return to action this weekend against Ireland and Johnson is keen to kick-start the Scotland campaign.
He said: “We are looking to continue the momentum that the boys have built recently. I was in camp for that France week so it was really disappointing not to play that game. I wasn’t involved in the first two weeks but from the outside looking in, it looked like everyone was happy, enjoying each other’s company and just wanted to play for each other.
“We know the test that is going to come against Ireland. We seem to face them quite a lot over the last couple of years and they have probably had the upper hand. But I feel quite a lot of things have changed in camp and we’ve prepared well this week. Now we’ll give it our best shot on Sunday.
“We know what to expect from Ireland. They will come with a big physical forward pack and they have a bit of flare out wide. Whoever wins that physicality battle, whether it’s gain line or breakdown probably wins the game so that’s a massive area this week.”
'I was struggling to balance my work and rugby – it was becoming too much'
Vet and @Scotlandteam back Hannah Smith on taking a sabbatical to pursue Olympic glory & her brother's decision to step away from pro rugby – w/ @Gav_S_Harper ??? #IWD2021 #IWD https://t.co/0dUPRPqcoM
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