Josh Strauss Relishing Scotland Opportunity and The Chance to Face Fiji

The back-row forward, who was called in to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad earlier this week, does not worry himself with aspects of the game out with his control, but he is ready to return to the international stage and face some old Fijian friends.

Strauss is named on the bench for the team to face Fiji at BT Murrayfield. (Photo: Scottish Rugby twitter)

Being recalled by Townsend

For many players, if they had not played internationally in over a year, they may have begun to fear that their chances of once again pulling on the national jersey were fading more every day.

For Strauss, it is something which he chose not to stress himself with, as he explained: “I’m someone who doesn’t try to think about it too much. When I get the phone call, when I’m not in, I take it in my stride.”

He believes, it can often come down to personal belief, as he later added: You have to be confident in your own abilities. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t worry about things outside of my control, so I’m at my club and I’ve got to play well there, and normally good things happen to you if you can do that.

“My mum always told me, ‘You can’t keep a good man down’, so I just try and be as good as I can be.”

The threat posed by Fiji

When Scotland run out against Fiji at BT Murrayfield this Saturday, it will be a hard-hitting physical encounter. The Fijian international side are renowned the world over for their sheer size advantage over the majority of their opponents.

Strauss certainly knows the challenge they can pose, as he noted: “I think the scary thing about Fiji is how big they are, and they can play a flair-based game.”

In an almost poetic sense, the last game Strauss played for Scotland was in fact against Fiji in June 2017 – a game which the Scots lost 27-22 in soaked conditions over in Suva.

“We were quite surprised,” Strauss said of that last game. “All our analysis on them was about this flair-based, very loose game – offloads and all these things – but in the morning the rain was coming down and they just played a very structured and physical game, with forwards latching into each other and just try to penetrate us that way.

“We maybe weren’t as ready for that side of their game, but it is now something we have seen once and we know we have to be ready for.”

Former teammates become opponents

During his time at Glasgow Warriors, Strauss was a teammate of Fijian powerhouse lock forward Leone Nakarawa. Strauss praised Nakarawa, who he fondly refers to as ‘Naks’, for his work ethic both on the field – where he is known for his pace, ball skills, and brute strength – and off of it.

He revealed: “He’s got a different mindset – he listens, he writes things down, he studies up on what we are doing, and when he does something bad he goes off and does his extras. I really think he just buys into it.

“It is all about buy-in. And Naks, just because of his personality, is the kind of guy who just buys into everything and says: ‘I’m there, I’m going to work hard, I’m going to be the best.’ And that’s what sets him apart.”

Of Nakarawa’s physical abilities, Strauss noted: “He is the only guy I know in world rugby who can stand upright within his arm in the air, get hit by three people, and not really move.”

Despite the possibility of coming up against such a valued former colleague, Strauss states that he still wants to come away with the points: “We are all very competitive. If I am involved, I really want to put one over them and get a really convincing win.”

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