Scotland lock Jonny Gray praised his side’s determination as they got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start against Ireland.
Vern Cotter’s outfit won 27-22 at Murrayfield thanks to tries from Stuart Hogg (2) and Alex Dunbar, with Greig Laidlaw kicking 12 points.
Gray was impressed with his charges’ attitude in the game last Saturday as the Scots got over the finish line with their noses in front.
“The belief was there and we wanted to do the jersey proud. It ultimately comes down to times like that. There could’ve been a moment when we put our heads down but we knew we had to grind it out and luckily we got the win,” the forward told Scottish Rugby after the game.
“The experiences we’ve had before, there has been a lot of pain in the Scotland shirt. It’s how you learn from that, and we still have a lot to grow.
“We often talk about not making the same mistakes. In life and in rugby when you make mistakes it’s important to learn from them.”
Gray made 28 tackles in the game in an outstanding personal performance, which he admits was always going to be necessary against Ireland.
“We looked at Ireland and knew how hard a game this was going to be. You can see when their ball carriers got the ball how hard it was and how much we had to defend,” he added.
“It was tough, very tough. You saw their ball retention and speed to rucks. It was very physical.”
Next up for Scotland is a trip to Paris to face France on Sunday and Gray is looking forward to the challenge of taking on les Bleus.
“We enjoyed this win and have an extra day’s recovery today (Monday) before getting back on it for France,” he said.
“We are under no illusion as to how tough it’s going to be out there.”