MacDougall enjoying international run

Scotland's Australia-born centre Ben MacDougall is hoping to continue his remarkable rugby journey when England visit Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup fixture. [more]

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Scotland’s Australia-born centre Ben MacDougall is hoping to continue his remarkable rugby journey when England visit Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup fixture.

Former rugby league player MacDougall’s international debut, in Sunday’s 28-18 RBS 6 Nations defeat by Wales at the Millennium Stadium, was one he will never forget.

The man who relocated from one side of the world to the other to become a Scotland international has no doubts the tartan revival will continue under new coach Frank Hadden.

Twenty-eight-year-old MacDougall, whose distinctly Scottish name comes with an equally clear Aussie accent and qualification through a grandfather from Glasgow, had up to 18 months ago not played union since his schooldays.

But he is delighted to be part of the flowering Hadden-inspired re-generation of Scottish rugby.

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"I think we’re heading in the right direction," he said.

"We are showing a lot of impetus, and our attack is really improving. But execution is the big thing – we’ve just got to cut those errors out."

MacDougall admits to having a sleepless night before the the biggest game of his new career.

"It was the fear of the unknown, not knowing what to expect, and obviously you wonder if you are up to it," he explained.

But the international dream turned into a nightmare after only 22 minutes at the Millennium Stadium as Scotland lock Scott Murray was sent off by New Zealand referee Steve Walsh for retaliating with a kick which caught Wales second row Ian Gough in the face as he tried to extricate himself from a late tackle.

"It affects the team as a whole, and Scotty’s a huge asset to this team – especially in the line-out," said MacDougall.

"He’s so crucial to us, so to lose him was hard.

"I didn’t really see the incident. But when you are down to 14 men, particularly against a team like Wales who use a lot of width in their attack, it is obviously going to affect you.

"That wasn’t the best, but we hung in there and we fought really well.

"We squandered a couple of opportunities, so we can’t really blame losing a man for the performance."

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