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Scott-Young taking learnings out of ‘incredible’ NZ experience into Pacific campaign

Thu, 20/01/2022, 4:52 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Angus Scott-Young relished the opportunity to ply his trade in New Zealand with Bay of Plenty. Photo: Getty Images
Angus Scott-Young relished the opportunity to ply his trade in New Zealand with Bay of Plenty. Photo: Getty Images

Reds back-rower Angus Scott-Young is eager to show off his development after returning from a four-month stint with NPC side Bay of Plenty.

After missing selection for the Wallabies squad despite a strong season, the 24-year-old took the chance to develop his game in the New Zealand competition during the off-season, joining a squad filled with Chiefs players.

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“It was an incredible experience and I’m really grateful for the Reds and Bay of Plenty for making that happen,” he told reporters.

“I went down to Mt Maunganui and Bay of Plenty and played four months down there with the steamers, awesome experience living with two Chiefs guys who are now great mates.

“…I’m glad as part of my Rugby journey I got to experience that.”

Scott-Young relished the opportunity to learn alongside current All Blacks captain Sam Cane, who was in the process of recovering from a pectoral injury.

Along with this, experiencing the culture and strong connection within the Bay of Plenty side was something he was looking to replicate at the Reds.

“I learnt a lot from guys like Sam Cane who I was training with every day. He’s someone I’ve looked up to for a long time now so learning from him was incredible,” he said.

“I learnt a lot from that Kiwi competition. It’s an incredible experience and I’m glad I can bring that knowledge and experience back to the Reds.

“It was really interesting going down there, the first thing I noticed was that sense of community they have. The Kiwi boys do it really well in what they do off the field in building connection which is incredible. That culture they have, I’d love to emulate that here at the Reds.”

The squad was rocked after the shocking passing of center Sean Wainui in October.

Wainui had only trained with Scott-Young and the squad days before his passing, with the Queenslander stepping up to show his support as an 'outsider' to the grief-stricken team.

This included performing and learning the 'Tika Tonu' haka, performed before their match against Waikato in remembrance of Wainui.

“The passing of Sean Wainui, he was in my team so I trained with him 2-3 months before that happened. It was devastating to find out that news, having only trained with him a few days before. The guys were distraught but I was in a pretty unique position where I was an outsider coming in so I could help those guys who were really upset and close with him so I took that role on,” Scott-Young said.

“It hit me when I came back in those quiet moments but the good things that came out of that was the experience personally of celebrating his life in a unique way for an Australian footballer.I got to do the haka, the Tika Tonu, before the Waikato game. I never pictured myself doing a haka but I now do it in the shower (laughs), I love doing it.

“It was a really special moment and (I) felt really connected to the people and place down there. To be honest, it was an honour to do that for Sean.”

His knowledge of the Kiwi system will be invaluable for a Reds' side that underperformed during Trans-Tasman after their Super Rugby AU title, 'lucky' to win the one game according to the back-rower.

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Scott-Young believes this along with the rapid improvements the side have made during a gruelling training block can help rectify a similar fate in 2022.

“I’m looking forward to the back end of the season playing against those Kiwi teams, especially the Chiefs, pretty much know all the boys in that side/area. Looking back on our challenges for ’21, we did well in the Super Rugby AU comp which won and that was awesome but in that Kiwi portion, we let ourselves down,” he admits.

“We weren’t competing. We won one game and we were lucky to win that. We weren’t up to scratch in that area but I think this year with the squad we have, the growth I’ve seen in the team and the knowledge I can bring back of the Kiwi system.

“That’s our goal this year, to compete with them in that space and get some wins. It’s a tall ask because they are very talented down there but we’re going to go for it.

“The boys here have had a slog for 13 weeks in the Aussie sun. I know there was a lot of focus on the athletic side of things so I have come back to the gym and the boys are strong as, now they’re out-lifting me…I think the main thing for me is the leadership, they’re so many guys that can lead in this team now.

“Last year there were guys getting 50th caps every two weeks so there are plenty of guys who are stepping up in leadership roles which is really exciting and that can only add up to good things.

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