Scots pin hopes on Dutch Courage

Edinburgh Rugby and potential Scotland international Tim Visser speaks to Stef Meens about his club and country career.

Winger Tim Visser does what he does best: scoring tries. Pic: PA

Scotland finally scored their first try for 17 months at Murrayfield in their win over Italy in the final match of the 2011 Six Nations, but their next source of tries could come from an unlikely source.

As the Magners League Young Player of the Season for 2010, and top try scorer with 11, Tim Visser is eager to help the Scots when he becomes eligible to play for them.

The 23-year-old Dutchman, who plays on the wing for Edinburgh Rugby, says he is relishing the prospect of playing in the big international tournaments for his adopted homeland.

“The possibility is still a year away, but if I keep working hard and developing then I think I’m ready for it,” Visser said. “I feel at home here and it would be an honour to represent this country and their rugby tradition.”

While most of his team mates were playing in the Six Nations, Visser enjoyed some time off. As his allegiance lay with the Scots, “The Flying Dutchman” watched most of their matches.

“Quite a few of the Edinburgh guys are part of the Scotland team so I supported them. I also know a few lads that play for England from my time at the Newcastle Falcons but since I hope to play for Scotland next year, I cheered for the Scots.”

For Tim, watching the Six Nations has become a household tradition. “My dad played 66 times for the Dutch national team so I grew up with rugby watching him play,” he explained. “Every year we would tune in for Six Nations coverage.

“This year, I particularly enjoyed Italy versus France. The Italians have tried so long to beat one of the big teams in the Six Nations and in a tense match they finally did it. The look on their faces after their victory was priceless.

“In terms of players I would say Chris Ashton and Chris Paterson were the stars for me. The latter was outstanding especially in defence. Ashton has impressed over the last couple of seasons and keeps on scoring. He is a good role model for me in terms of getting the tries”

With England crowned as Six Nations champions, Edinburgh Rugby’s players have now returned to Murrayfield to prepare for the remainder of the season. Visser is glad the team is back together.

“It was good to have a week break. I went back to Holland to catch up with friends and family but I’m glad everybody is back now. You always get a bit disorganised when there’s time off so I’m glad we are returning to full training.”

In his teens, Visser played for Rugby Club Hilversum. His talent was spotted while representing the Dutch national team at the Amsterdam Sevens before joining the the Newcastle Falcons Academy.

When Visser made his debut in the Guinness Premiership in September 2006, he scored the winning try after replacing Jonny Wilkinson.

Despite a good start for the Falcons, Visser played on loan for Darlington Mowden Park in 2006/07 and Northampton Saints in 2007/08. In his last season at Newcastle he scored five tries in 21 appearances before making his move to Scotland

Tim joined Edinburgh Rugby as the club went through a good spell, which helped him find his way in the Magners League.

“I was a bit surprised that I started so well. I never reached my full potential in England but here at Edinburgh they believed in me and after my first try I had the confidence to go on a keep scoring, developing and putting the performance in for the team.

“So it was fantastic to become top try scorer and it was an honour to be named talent of the year.”

For most of the current season, Edinburgh have struggled to find their form. They are out of the Heineken Cup and in the league they are keeping fellow Scots Glasgow Warriors company near the bottom of the table.

However a 23-16 win against Ospreys last Saturday, including a try by Tim, proved Edinburgh have not given up this season and Visser thinks there is enough quality for them to be competitive against any opponent.

“Frankly, I think we were just playing below our par. We fail to eliminate mistakes so it’s getting harder and harder to see games off. “

However, Visser is pleased with his own development this year with five tries in the first four games of the season.

“It’s not as easy to score many point when as a team we are struggling. But in terms of positioning and tackling I feel I improved a lot. The main thing is to get back winning with the team because we have the quality to do just that.”

In a year’s time, “Dutch delight”, as he was called in Newcastle, will become eligible to play for Scotland. With Thom Evans ending his career and Scotland going through a tough period, Visser’s chances to play for Scotland are on the up.

“I spoke to Andy Robinson on a couple of occasions and he asked if I would be prepared to play for Scotland. He said that if I keep improving there is a chance for me so that is a great motivation for me to work hard and keep training.

“Also there is still a lot of competition on the Scotland wings with the likes of Sean Lamont, Simon Danielli and Nikki Walker. They are all physical and the same kind of players like me. A lot will come down to the guy that displays the best form.”

His fellow team-mates are pleased for Visser that he could play in the big international tournaments in the near future.

“We’re all friends and they took me aboard in a great way. I have to say the Scots in general are really friendly. They never gave me the idea I’m an outsider.”

His potential international debut for Scotland is still a year away, which gives him the time to learn the words to Flower of Scotland.

“My teammates asked me the lyrics not too long ago and I think I managed the first two sentences so I’ll have to work on that. But if I get the chance to play for Scotland I’ll sing Flower of Scotland to honour the tradition and to pay respect to this country”


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