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Just having a go is not alien concept for Ryan comment

If there was one thing Dean Ryan was making clear yesterday it was that he has little or nothing to gain or lose over the next three months in providing emergency support to his native country's oldest sporting enemy.

Clearly the former England lock could not care less about his popularity on this side of the border and, to his credit, he was making no attempt to hide that as he stated his involvement will be brief and straight-talking.

His motivation essentially seems to be a desire to get a wee taste of being inside an international dressing room which will doubtless help him with his day job as a TV analyst for a broadcaster that, conveniently, does not have rights for live coverage of Six Nations matches.

Ryan's reputation and performance at yesterday's first press conference since joining the Scotland management indicate that his approach to coaching forwards leans towards old school cracking of whips rather than seeking to share much in the way of love.

Yet, as Scott Johnson, the man whose 999 call he responded to, observed in his introductory remarks, Ryan has been recruited because of his understanding of forward play and his capacity to command a room.

There was a similar message from Norrie Rowan, the former Scotland prop, when we spoke at the weekend and he recalled an occasion when he and Ryan were asked to add a bit of bulk and knowhow to a Spanish representative team who were taking on the New Zealand Maori.

"It was great," Rowan recalled. "Dean just spent the whole game fighting with their captain Wayne Shelford and let the rest of us get on with it."

When I noted that was 20 years ago and that those he might be seeking to intimidate over the next few weeks are more youthful athletes who spend rather more time in the gym than Ryan does these days, Rowan observed dryly: "It's got nothing to do with physicality . . . it's down to personality."

Those who know much about Ryan, Shelford and, indeed, Rowan, will understand that message fully. To others I will merely point out that Wayne "Buck" Shelford was one of the toughest customers to captain the All Blacks and leave the rest to your powers of deduction.

Not that tough-talking alone will be enough to help Scotland claim a fifth win in more than 100 years of visits to the home ground of the nation whose colours Ryan was very proud to wear in the nineties.

However, this is also a man whose recruitment was regarded as a considerable coup by Sky, while he also gave the impression that he would not mind who he upsets by enhancing his reputation as an analyst at the expense of his native country, or any of the other four teams that consigned Scotland to a Six Nations whitewash last year for that matter.

In short, Ryan comes across as being as honest as he is claiming to be and if so then this is a single, isolated pop at Test rugby just to see how he measures up, without taking any risk with his main career.

Few have ever been granted such an opportunity, but there is just a chance that Scotland supporters will feel, in three months' time, that they have been as lucky as he is that he received it.

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