Beattie glad of French leave

Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:48
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Johnnie Beattie is looking forward to getting his Scotland career back on track following a pre-season move to France.

Johnnie Beattie is looking forward to getting his Scotland career back on track following a pre-season move to France.

The 27-year-old back row forward, who won the last of his 16 caps in 2011, has been instrumental in Montpellier qualifying for the European Cup quarterfinals for the first time.

It looked as if Beattie's time at international level had come to an end when he was left out of the 2011 World Cup squad and worse followed when he fell out of favour at Glasgow.

But now he aims to regain his Test place in time for the Six Nations opener away to England at Twickenham on February 2.

"It's been great fun," Beattie, back in Glasgow for a three-day Scotland training camp called by interim coach Scott Johnson, said.

"I have loved the change of environment and the change of culture, and the change in rugby has been great for me."

He added: "I'm really glad I made the move and also managed to keep in touch with the national set-up and still be asked back.

"I haven't played as many games back to back for a long, long time.

"I have played 80 minutes for the past eight or nine games.

"That has really helped just get back into the run of things, continuity in the legs, going through contacts and collisions and building confidence back up. So it has been great in that respect."

Beattie, whose career was interrupted by shoulder surgery shortly after he impressed in the 2010 Six Nations, said he'd become struck in a rut.

"I had stayed at one club for eight years and everyone needs a freshen-up and a change every now and again.

"So far it's been great, I have picked up a few things and it's great to play with different players and learn from different coaches."

Beattie admitted there was a concern moving abroad might have hindered rather than helped his Scotland prospects.

"You look at the Welsh players in France and a lot of them aren't being asked back to the national camp, so for me it was an enormous relief after playing a few games to get the call to come back and be part of this environment again," he said.

"And obviously there is a fresh environment with Johnno heading things up and a different coaching team. It's an exciting time."

Johnson had been assisting former Scotland coach Andy Robinson since last year's tour of the southern hemisphere but found himself parachuted into the top job, albeit on a caretaker basis, after the Englishman resigned following the embarrassing defeat by Tonga in Aberdeen in November.

"He seems like a really positive bloke," Beattie said of Johnson.

"Everyone loved working under Andy but we didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve," he added.

"Johnno just spoke this (Monday) morning about trying to maximise in every single aspect, chucking in exactly 100 percent to whatever you can each day to improve so that when we get to Test matches everything is geared to performing in a winning way."

AFP

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