Matt Scott has wasted little time in making an impact at Gloucester Rugby but fly-half Billy Burns admits the Scotland centre’s input has gone far beyond just the tries.
Scott has turned himself into an instant crowd favourite at Kingsholm as the bustling centre scored a try-double on debut against Leicester Tigers before scoring again in the comeback draw with Worcester Warriors.
Starting at outside centre, Scott has not only dovetailed neatly with Burns, but also fellow Scotland international Greig Laidlaw and that is a big plus for Gloucester amid two frustrating results so far.
And according to Burns, he is also making his voice heard both in training and in the video room as the Cherry & Whites bid to improve on their eighth-placed finish in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season.
“Matt has been great since he has come in,” said Burns. “He’s a hungry talent with a fair bit of experience at international level and for a younger player like myself who wants to play the game with ball in hand, that’s something huge.
“He was playing well in pre-season too and he has not only been learning new systems quickly but has been giving the other guys some input with his own ideas.
“Long may that continue – there’s no reason why he can’t keep scoring one or two every game!
“I think frustrating would be the word to throw up so far (this season). It’s been tough, we’ve shown in some periods of play where we have caused teams problems – but we haven’t been able to consistently do it. But we are improving week on week in all aspects of the game.
“We’ve played against two attacking teams for one, but it’s certainly early days with new guys coming in. It’s pleasing that we’ve managed to play expansive rugby at times too, we were lacking a few tries last year.
“When we got in on the Monday morning to watch videos last season we saw where we were creating opportunities – we were just lacking that execution. (Backs coach) Tim Taylor has really helped us work out how to score in pressure situations and we’ve been able to take more of those opportunities.”
A first win of the season is unlikely to come easily at the AJ Bell Stadium, as Sale Sharks await Gloucester at a ground that is one of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s traditional fortresses.
The last team to have beaten the Sharks in Manchester happens to be Gloucester – a gritty 12-11 win in April – though Burns believes that result will have no bearing on Friday’s action.
“We know it’s going to be a tough, Sale always are, but as it’s early in the season there’s not much to go on – we’ve just got to go and get a result,” said the 22-year-old.
Both squads have changed over pre-season, they’ve certainly added and it will be a very different game to last year even though we went and won.
“The weather is due to be better so the ball might get chucked around a bit more, so we’ve got to make sure we are ready for that.”