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Johnson's RWC hopes still alive

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'You go through seven stages of depression, you think the worst straight away'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Sam Johnson feared the worst after suffering the ankle injury that will see him miss at least the first two of Scotland’s World Cup warm-ups. But the centre is hopeful he will make the first of two games against Georgia – the second falls after Gregor Townsend names his final 31-man squad.

He is thankful the training-ground collision with Adam Hastings was not as bad as he first feared. Johnson, whose team-mates take on France in the first of four weekly Tests on Saturday, said: “I’m aiming for a couple of weeks and get back to the summer Tests, probably one of the Georgia games.

“At this stage I am aiming for the away game. It’s just a rolled ankle. At the time you go through the seven stages of depression, you think the worst straight away, but I got a scan and the doc reassured how it was.

“It was a difficult two hours straight afterwards. It’s one of those things with ankle injuries, it balloons when you get the blood flow through it, so you think the worst.

“But I walked off the pitch and didn’t feel anything go and usually you’d feel a pop so I knew it wasn’t the worst. I got the scan results two days later.”

Australian-born Johnson qualified for Scotland on residency grounds last year and has scored two tries in his first four caps.

He realises he faces major competition with Newcastle’s Chris Harris, Glasgow pair Peter Horne and Huw Jones, Northampton’s Rory Hutchinson and Duncan Taylor of Saracens all vying for places while Sale winger Byron McGuigan can also play in midfield. Warriors centres Nick Grigg and Kyle Steyn were cut from the squad last week.

Johnson, who was promoting the Scottish Rugby Union’s new sponsorship deal with Crabbie’s Gin, said: “No-one really wants to be in this position but I just have to work hard now and get myself back on the pitch. I will hopefully be back running into this week so that’s only been a week and a half.

“Midfield and back row is such a hotly-contested spot. You never want those boys to get a head start but hopefully I get a crack in a couple of weeks and put my best foot forward.”

Scotland have been in camp for the best part of two months and Johnson feels they have grown together as a squad.

“You build relationships,” the Glasgow player said. “We are together more than we are with out families at the minute. You get to know them as men not just rugby players. It’s been really fun.

“It’s been challenging obviously with the running and contact but off the pitch all the boys have got a bit closer and we are looking forward to playing rugby now.

“Culture is a massive part of rugby. If you don’t like the people you work with, it’s not going to be a successful job. We have put some things in place to try and get closer on and off the pitch and just enjoying each other’s company.

“Last night we went to the Fringe Festival, on the weekend you might have a beer or if there’s time go out for dinner, and just get to know each other more than rugby players.”

– Press Association 

WATCH: Rugby Championship-winning coach Rassie Erasmus speaks ahead of this weekend’s South Africa-Argentina match 

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'You go through seven stages of depression, you think the worst straight away'