Argentina v Scotland: James Lang goals to go away lasting impression on Gregor Townsend
When James Lang was named in Gregor Townsend’s squad for Scotland’s summer season tour there was a little bit of a quizzical response. James Lang? The bit-part fly-half from Harlequins?
That was in regards to the sum of the data and it was no surprise. Lang has performed treasured little rugby for his membership however is nearly to play a bit extra rugby for his nation.
Seen as a centre by Gregor Townsend, Lang was capped from the beginning in Edmonton in opposition to Canada. He’ll win his second cap when Scotland play Argentina in Resistencia on the weekend. Townsend will not title his 23-man squad till Thursday, however Lang will probably be in it.
The product of an English mom, a Welsh father and a Scottish grandfather, the tour, he says, has been “depraved”, even permitting for the defeat by the Individuals in Houston.
For Lang, whose mom Rena performed soccer for England, and who qualifies for Scotland by way of Rena’s Hamilton-reared dad, this has been a journey of discovery.
Earlier than he attached with the worldwide gamers, the one guys he knew had been his former Harlequins team-mate Ruaridh Jackson and his outdated U-18 friends Zander Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury and Lewis Carmichael.
“And it was 5 years since I noticed them,” says the 23-year-old. “I wasn’t actually anticipating to be chosen. I obtained a telephone name from Gregor round March. I used to be on vacation in Morocco and it was fairly a shock.
“He stated they had been me and had been liking what they had been seeing. Gregor spoke to me about my place. I’ve began at 10, 12, and 15 this 12 months for Quins, however I believe I am right here predominantly as a ball-playing 12, which is the place I believe I can actually improve my profession.”
Scotland’s centres – a humiliation of riches
It is too early to say whether or not Lang goes to make it with Scotland. As a centre, he is obtained a heap of opposition, some right here on tour, some resting up at dwelling.
There’s Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne and Duncan Taylor, Mark Bennett and Matt Scott, Nick Grigg and Chris Harris. Together with Lang, that is 9 centres in Townsend’s ideas.
Lang is aware of he must function extra prominently for Harlequins if he needs to remain within the body. “On the minute, I am very glad at Quins. We have a brand new head coach coming in, Paul Gustard, and I’ve heard superb issues about him.
“It is a clear slate for everybody. I am wanting ahead to placing my hand up. Hopefully I am going to get the chance.”
Definitely, Townsend thinks loads of him.
“Once they instructed me I used to be beginning, I used to be thrilled, excited, could not actually wait to get on the market and play,” says Lang. “After which, on the day, Stuart Hogg introduced me with my prime within the altering room and that was fairly class.
“Clearly, I’ve obtained a great deal of respect for him. He is a world-class participant and for him to do this was depraved.
“Singing the anthems was very particular. My dad and mom flew out to Edmonton and had been within the crowd, so it was depraved to share that second with them as properly.”
‘USA loss was annoying however we have now to maneuver on’
Depraved may be his favorite phrase, however he has different, extra appropriate, descriptions of Saturday night time in Houston. He wasn’t within the squad, however he wasn’t oblivious to the temper.
“We’re all wanting ahead to Argentina and righting the wrongs that occurred final weekend,” he stated. “I believe it will likely be an amazing Take a look at match. They’ve come off the again of a few losses, in order that they’ll be properly up for it, as are we.
“The boys had been very disenchanted with the end result. Credit score to the USA, they performed good rugby. It is annoying we misplaced, however we have now to maneuver on fairly shortly.”
The squad at the moment are sampling the distinctive delights of Resistencia in north-eastern Argentina – town of sculptures, as it’s identified. None will be seen from workforce resort, which is a bit out of city and monitored by armed police. For kicks, there is a Walmart up the street. Vegas, it isn’t.
Not that it issues. The one factor that counts for Lang and his team-mates is a victory in opposition to the Pumas which may assist eradicate the loss to the Eagles.