Scotland’s new signing Jack Dempsey prepares for his Calcutta Cup debut against England at Twickenham
“I played four tests in autumn and made my debut against Australia. When the team was named this week and I was lucky enough to be a part of it, you just pinch yourself and think, ‘How is this Sydney boy who was lucky enough to be living his dream doing for his state and the Wallabies play, then a few years later I get to play in the damn Six Nations.”
After an Australian career playing for the Waratahs between 2015 and 2021 and 14 Tests for the Wallabies – including at Rugby World Cup 2019 – Dempsey moved to Glasgow for a change in 2021.
He had no intention of playing for Scotland and World Rugby laws didn’t allow it at the time anyway. It was only after he had been there for several months that World Rugby changed its eligibility laws to allow players to switch allegiance provided they had the requisite heritage and had served a three-year Test break.
Dempsey could now qualify for Scotland through his maternal grandfather. As he debated returning home for a chance at Rugby World Cup 2023, he spoke to both Dave Rennie and Scottish rugby officials.
“I followed my gut instinct and decided to stay and play with Scotland,” he said.
After his three-year exile expired last year, a rib injury kept him out of town until Australia.
“It was very mixed feelings,” Dempsey said.
“Suddenly this (first) game isn’t just against the gold jersey, the jersey I wore proudly as a junior, 20’s and senior with the Wallabies.
“But also the guys who wore it, buddies like Jakey Gordon, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Andrew Kellaway… guys I’ve played with my whole career, even as kids.” It was so busy.”
In an instant test of Dempsey’s inner loyalty, Australia won a nail biter after Scotland missed a last-minute penalty. He felt gutted from the “bitter” feeling.
Dempsey said the England-Scotland rivalry “brings back vibes of the Bledisloe Cup and the like”, but even Aussies and Kiwis will acknowledge that the roots of a Tasmania rivalry don’t lie in the same area.
But while the Scottish camp doesn’t do fire and brimstone, Dempsey said he’s spoken to other players and soaked up what it means to beat England.
Elsewhere in the Six Nations, Mack Hansen and Finlay Bealham, who grew up in Canberra, will both start for Ireland in their clash with Wales in Cardiff on Sunday morning (AEDT).
Ireland are favorites to win the tournament ahead of France, who play Italy on Monday morning.
Catch all the action from the Six Nations on Stan Sport. Round 1 gets underway on Sunday with Wales v Ireland (1:05pm AEDT), England v Scotland (3:35pm AEDT) and Italy v France (1:50pm AEDT).
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/o-flower-of-sydney-wallaby-turned-scot-excited-for-six-nations-debut-20230203-p5chnc.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Scotland’s new signing Jack Dempsey prepares for his Calcutta Cup debut against England at Twickenham