Gavin Hastings 'very proud' as son Adam poised for Scotland debut

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland
Adam Hastings is flanked by mother Diane (left) and father Gavin (right) after his debut for Bath at Worcester
Adam Hastings had mother Diane (left) and father Gavin (right) watching when he made his Bath debut two years ago
Summer international: Canada v Scotland
Venue: Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton Date: Sunday, 10 June Kick-off: 02:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC One Scotland & BBC Sport website; text commentary on BBC Sport website

Gavin Hastings did his best to keep a lid on his emotions, but during the course of Wednesday it got harder and harder.

"It's just sinking in now," he said about his 21-year-old son, Adam, being named in Scotland's 23-man squad to face Canada in Edmonton at the weekend.

"I'm just a very proud parent right now. I'm a very, very happy dad. Look, he wasn't won anything yet. He hasn't won a cap, but I've wished him well for the Canada match and I'm really excited for him.

"I've been there and done it myself so I know a bit about what he's going through. It's a great moment for all of the family."

Thirty-two years have passed since Hastings the elder made his own debut in the Scotland jersey, aged 24, in a momentous 18-17 victory over France at Murrayfield in the Five Nations. Famously, and almost incredibly, there were six new caps from the start that day - Hastings and his brother, Scott, along with Finlay Calder, David Sole, Matt Duncan and Jeremy Campbell-Lamerton.

That Test was a white knuckle ride. Hastings' first act as a Scotland player was a nightmare, his kick-off going into touch on the full. That's not the greatest of plays when you have gnarled old warriors like Colin Deans and Iain Milne in your pack of forwards.

As the full-back turned away expecting France to opt for a scrum, the visitors took a quick line-out and punished his error to the maximum by launching a rapid-fire attack.

Within a minute of the first whistle, Pierre Berbizier had scored a try.

Gavin Hastings (left) in action for Scotland
Gavin Hastings (left) made his Test debut 32 years ago, scoring all Scotland's 18 points in an 18-17 win over France

Showing the quality and strength of character that would make him a Scotland rugby icon, Hastings settled down, kicked six penalties and won the match. If his boy's debut in Edmonton is half as eventful then he'll be doing well.

"I was nervous and, to be fair, it's come quicker for Adam than it did for me," he said.

'You don't need to be the hero'

"I was probably there or thereabouts for a couple of seasons before I got capped, but I don't think anyone is suggesting that Adam has been there or thereabouts for the last couple of years. He was down at Bath and he was learning his trade and then he came up to Glasgow and he got some game-time this season.

"It's something he's had to work at. Back in my day I tried not to put too much pressure on myself and that's what I would say to Adam. You don't need to be the hero. You just need to ease your way into it.

"He's very laid-back, Adam. That's one of his strengths. The first question I always ask him after a game is, 'Did you enjoy yourself?' because, as far as I'm concerned, that's everything. You have to enjoy it.

"I think he's learned from Finn (Russell), who is one of these guys who goes out and expresses himself and loves every minute. Finn plays with a smile on his face and that's a very good way to be."

Adam Hastings kicks the ball for Glasgow Warriors
Adam Hastings made 12 appearances for Bath and featured in nine Glasgow games last season

Adam never got to see his father play for Scotland. He was born in 1996, a year after Gavin retired from the international scene on 61 Scotland caps (plus six for the British and Irish Lions). In the past, Adam has spoken about the unique challenge of bearing the surname.

"I did struggle with it when I was younger," he said. "I did let it get to me a bit. It was hard to know whether you were actually a good player or if you were just getting picked because of that link. As you get older you realise coaches are not stupid enough to do that."

In naming him in the 23 for Canada, Gregor Townsend talked about Hastings' work-rate and his desire to learn. Previously, his coach at Glasgow, Dave Rennie, praised his thirst for knowledge, his footwork and his ability with ball-in-hand.

'He's ready to grab his opportunity' - Gregor Townsend on Adam Hastings

Hastings the younger was called into the Scotland training squad before the Six Nations game with Italy in March, but this is the real deal now. His debut is imminent.

Hasting senior said: "I'm going to see the Rolling Stones at Murrayfield on Saturday night and the kick-off in Edmonton is at 2am (BST), so I'm not sure whether I'll stay up for the match or whether I'll get up."

As weekends go, it ain't half bad. From Ruby Tuesday to, he hopes, Adam's Sunday.

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