Denton out to lay down Lions marker
November 1, 2012
David Dento is hoping to return to Scotland colours for the November internationals © PA Photos
Scotland's David Denton is hoping to use the upcoming November internationals to show that he is worthy of a place on the Lions tour to Australia in 2013.
Denton was one of the few shining lights as Scotland finished the Six Nations with the wooden spoon earlier this year, but an ankle injury kept him out of the summer tour to Australia, Fiji and Samoa from which the Scots returned with three wins from three Tests. With Saracens back-rower Kelly Brown named as Scotland captain on Wednesday and with the likes of John Barclay, Richie Vernon, Ross Rennie and Alasdair Strokosch also in the mix, Denton is well aware that he faces a huge task just to break back into Andy Robinson's Scotland side.
"A lot of people have been talking to me about second-season syndrome," he said. "It's a massive goal of mine to make sure that doesn't happen. I've got to get us on the front foot and them on the back foot. If I do that, that's essentially me doing my job well. I've thought about that a lot, as everyone does in a Lions year. But at the moment I just need to focus on getting my position in the Scotland team, which I'm going to have to work very hard for."
Scotland take on New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga in consecutive weekends in November and it will take a huge effort for Robinson's team to maintain their momentum from the summer tour. They have never beaten the All Blacks in their history, with two draws the best they have managed and Denton is well aware of what he and his team-mates will be up against at Murrayfield on November 10 and how big a challenge they will present.
"It's a massive opportunity and to play the best team in the world is something every professional wants to do," he said. "The back row will probably be (Richie) McCaw, (Liam) Messam and (Kieran) Read. Those are three of the household names of world back-rows. It's not good enough to go out there and play them. We want to go out there and be better than them. We've got to challenge them physically, particularly the forwards and particularly myself individually. The way I play it's got to be a big physical battle. We've got to go out there, take them on up front and really get our heads down and work."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup