Scotland’s Ewan Ashman believes the squad is focused and ready for their World Cup challenge – and receiving their caps has added an extra buzz to the group.
Gregor Townsend and his players arrived in Nice to be welcomed at a civic reception hosted by the mayor and World Cup officials.
The event in the 30 degree midday heat included the official capping ceremony, with the players feeling the heat in their tournament suits. Scotland hooker Ashman said the occasion brought home the excitement and could only add to how determined the players are to have a good tournament.
“It’s been a really nice reception, other than being a bit sweaty under the suit,” Ashman said. “It’s a great spot by the beach in lovely weather with a whole load of great people and great speeches.
“It feels good to have the cap on, it’s class. Everybody wants to go to a World Cup. It gives you a chance to look back on what you’ve done and how long it took you to get there. Being a wee boy watching World Cups, this is exactly where you want to be.
“It’s back to business tomorrow, but even today, I don’t think the boys’ focus will have swayed much. If anything it adds to the buzz and motivation going into this weekend.”
Though Scotland don’t face South Africa in their opening match until Sunday in Marseille, the high temperatures are expected to stay. Ashman doesn’t see the conditions being an issue for Scotland after their visits to their training base in Valbonne, and believes the players have never been in better shape.
“We’ve had a 14-week build-up to this point and we’ve been out here a couple of times already so the boys have adapted really well,” he said.
“Physically, we’re in the best condition everybody’s been in up to this point so we’re ready to go.
“It’s the hottest part of France down here so it was good to come out and acclimatise earlier in the summer and get familiar with the hotel and the facilities because it’s a long time you’re out here.”