Strauss 'remained confident of Scotland recall'

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Strauss’ last Scotland cap came 17 months ago, against Fiji in Suva
Scotland v Fiji
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 10 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Scotland the BBC Sport website and app. Live text on BBC Sport website

Sale Sharks back-row Josh Strauss says he always retained faith in his ability to earn a Scotland recall.

The former Glasgow number eight was called into Gregor Townsend’s squad for Saturday’s Test against Fiji, with David Denton still unavailable.

Strauss, 32, has not featured for Scotland since defeat against the Fijians on the summer tour of 2017.

“I believe you always have to be confident in your own ability,” said the South Africa-born forward.

“I had to play well at my club, and normally, good things happen off the back of that if you do well.

“My mum always says: ‘You can’t keep a good man down’, so I just try to be as good as I can be.”

‘I’ve always been a ball-carrier at heart’

Since the last of Strauss’ 14 caps against Fiji 17 months ago, four other players have started at number eight for Scotland in the 12 Tests since.

Ryan Wilson (seven) has been the most consistent presence, while Cornell du Preez (two), David Denton (two) and Matt Fagerson (one) have also been tried, with varying degrees of success.

Wilson started last Saturday’s defeat in Cardiff, with Glasgow team-mate Fagerson coming off the bench, while another Warrior, Adam Ashe, has also been called into the squad this week.

But with Du Preez disappearing off the radar – even before a recent throat injury – after a non-performance in the opening match of this year’s Six Nations against Wales, and Denton still recovering from a head knock, Strauss is the most obvious option if Townsend opts for a big ball-carrier this weekend.

“Obviously different players around you affect how you do your job but I’ve always been a ball-carrier at heart,” said Strauss as he reflected on how his game has changed since leaving Glasgow for Sale in the summer of 2017.

“It’s always come naturally to me so I just try to do that and make that my niche and the thing I’m good that.”

The World Cup may be less than a year away now, but Strauss is refusing to look too far ahead as he considers his prospects of remaining involved with Scotland.

“It’s a bit too far in the future for me to look at right now but I’m just happy to be back,” he added. “If I do get opportunities I have to take them as well I can.

“It comes down to how I play away from here. You might play three exceptional games for Scotland if you get selected, go back to your club and your form might dip. But that’s something you have to try to stay on top of.”

Revised Scotland squad for Fiji match:

Forwards:

Props: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Allan Dell (Edinburgh), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (London Irish); Hookers: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) Locks: Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) Back-rows: Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).

Backs:

Back three: Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); Centres: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors); Fly-halves: Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors); Scrum-halves: George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors).



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