Speaking to Scott Scrafton on Friday night, the young Auckland lock is optimistic. While his team had just endured a less than satisfactory game against the Chiefs, the West Aucklander hopes his enthusiasm rubs off on his team mates.
At 24, and in his third year of representing the Blues, he has the work rate to impress. Starting on Friday, he left everything out on the park. Exhausted, and somewhat deflated with the outcome, Scrafton didn’t blame anyone. His team just weren’t good enough, and let an opportunity slip.
Last Word on Rugby commiserated with the player, but also asked him how he was going in this years team? “I love it. Even though the results to start the year aren’t what we planned for; or wanted. We’re changing the culture, wanting to see improvements over some lean years. [Expletive] we’re close,” and that honest appraisal shows how dearly the players in 2018 are wanting to turn it around.
Enjoyed speaking with Scott Scrafton on Friday night. Might have been disappointed with result, but knows that his enthusiasm and energy can help his side on their tough trip to Africa@BluesRugbyTeam All the best mate #SuperRugby
hoto credit @GettySport pic.twitter.com/j3w2uf2X7c
— scott hornell (@scotthornell73) March 4, 2018
Scott Scrafton hopes enthusiasm rubs off on his Blues team mates
The St Kent’s man is enjoying his time. In starting against the Chiefs, he began in a pack which included locking partner, and All Black Patrick Tuipulotu. That will inspire a young lock to demonstrate his best. “Me and Patty have played a lot of footy together now. We’re good mates.
“And Jerome, Jimmy, we all compete against each other, building combinations. We’re good mates, and at the end of the day we are all playing for the same side. Starting or coming on, I just try to bring that impact.”
Seen as a prospect, from his development days under Sir John Kirwin, to now running out in big matches. Scott Scrafton is viewed as a player with a good attitude. A good worker, he states it clearly when he says “my thing is just bring energy, and just work and work and work myself into the ground.”
“Just try and smash everyone.”
And his enthusiasm and energy is a key attribute that he can bring to the training ground, the changing room and to the group dynamic on the field in Super Rugby.
West Auckland ‘clique’ of players continue proud Kelston record
Asked about some other young players, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti is another who shows promise. “Yeah I know Gerard, we went to Kelston. Him, me and Patty all went to Kelston, so I know him well. We try and bring out the best in each other.”
They carry on the fine record of Kelston College, where so many Blues players have developed from. That also includes former Kelston principal Sir Graham Henry, who Scrafton will work with at the Auckland Rugby team, during this years Mitre 10 Cup. The list of players and those bonds made over the years, is where the strength of the squad is obvious.
And enthusiasm and energy can bring internal competition. Something which all great sides have, the Blues environment has that in the backline, as well as in the tight forwards. Scrafton competes for his place alongside Jimmy Tupou and (once fit) Josh Goodhue, which can only improve the standards.
The Mitre 10 Cup Defensive Player of the Year – Scott Scrafton. pic.twitter.com/kmIENF6jtd
— Auckland Rugby (@AucklandRugby) October 26, 2016
Hard work is something Scrafton does not back away from, as his award in 2016 proved. Tackling his heart out, he has a ‘big ticker’. He also holds responsibility in the Blues. Critically at his early age, he is in charge of calling the lineouts. “Yeah, that’s my little baby. Pretty happy how we went in that first half, but that last ten minutes we’ve just got to look at ourselves in the mirror, the pressure got the better of us.”
His side were on attack, with only a minute remaining in the match. Scrafton had been subbed, and the attacking lineout was not thrown in straight. It destroyed any chances of pulling out a last-dash win, and Scrafton was exact when he remarked “it’s not acceptable at this level”. And the fans will feel the same as the players do.
Blues need to pick themselves up, for trip to Africa
After failing to take advantage of a wounded Chiefs team, the soul searching will begin. Even young players like Scott Scrafton, realize that winning is the goal. He and his team must now prepare for the longhaul flight to South Africa.
Not a lot of time for analysis, as the team fly out of New Zealand Sunday – that is now without their skipper Augustine Pulu, who was removed due to injury. The lock has no doubt he wants to be onboard that flight, and to battle on with his mates.
Scrafton knows it will be a tough ask. But his enthusiasm is undoubted, and when asked what the team must look at, his answer is short. “To win. We have to win. We’ve got two hard weeks coming up, and honestly I believe we should have won the last two games, we haven’t but now we’ve just got to win.”
“Turn the close ones into wins!”
The Blues will head to Johannesburg first, to face the table topping Lions. That task is extremely difficult, and they then play the Stormers in Cape Town. By Week Five, the Auckland team must achieve some tangible results, before the task starts to look enormous.
On tour, enthusiasm needs to be retained, and in a young lock like Scott Scrafton, head coach Tana Umaga knows that he will bring his energy to the challenge ahead.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images