Scotland back-row Andy Christie said he had mixed emotions after earning his first Test start during the defeat to Italy on Saturday.  

While the Saracens man said he was proud to have earned a starting berth after some strong cameos from the bench, those emotions were surpassed by the disappointment of a first defeat to Italy in nine years.  

Christie said: “I felt excited, I felt nervous and I’m absolutely delighted that I managed to get my first start.  

“It is another cap, another opportunity to play for this brilliant team, this brilliant country, so I am proud of myself for that. 

“I’m very disappointed with how the game ended up, I think everyone in the squad is, and probably everyone who watched and supported us is.”  

It had all been going so well for Scotland in the first half thanks to tries from Zander Fagerson, Kyle Steyn and Pierre Schoeman.  

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's defeat to Italy

Christie might have fancied getting on the scoresheet himself after a lung-busting run from inside his own half.  He outstripped Italy wing Monty Ioane, but couldn’t get the better of man of the match Juan Ignacio Brex, who hauled him down before winning a penalty.  

 “I couldn’t get out of fourth gear,” Christie said.  

“I could see the line, but I could also see some of the Italian defenders hunting me down. I managed to wriggle free of Ioane but I just didn’t make the tape unfortunately.” 

He said the disappointment of a second defeat of the Six Nations can fuel the squad as they prepare to visit title-chasing Ireland.  

"I believe in this team, I believe that we have what it takes to bounce back against anyone.  

“I think in flashes today you saw the brilliance of our team and some of our players, so we said it before the game and we’ll say it again: we hope to get a full 80-minute performance and that’s exactly what we’ll need next week.” 

Ireland’s back-row is a particular area of strength, with Jack Conan and Peter O’Mahony, both Lions, likely to feature in the matchday 23 alongside Josh van der Flier, a former World Player of the Year, and Caelan Doris.  


Christie isn’t focusing on who will be in the opposition team and wants first to make sure he earns a second Scotland start at the Aviva Stadium next week.  

“They’ve got strength throughout their team. Everyone waxes lyrical about their system and how well they play together so it is not just their back-row, we need to look at their threats all over the pitch. 

“For myself, first things first, I want to be selected, I want another opportunity to play for this brilliant team. 

“But with their back-row, even the guys who are not being selected they’ve got fantastic depth there so it will be a brilliant challenge for whoever gets the opportunity to play.” 

Meanwhile, the Saracens forward said being unable to train with the Scotland squad during the ‘fallow’ Six Nations weeks is frustrating.  

Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) does not release the English-based members of Gregor Townsend’s squad during the rest weeks, meaning they must return to their clubs. During this year’s championship, there have been no Premiership games. 

Gregor Townsend has been critical of the ruling previously, saying it damages the credibility of the Six Nations.

READ MORE: Player release rules damaging for Six Nations, says Gregor Townsend

Christie said it is a challenge and hopes it can be changed.  

Scotland Rugby News: Andy Christie celebrates on Saracens duty as Owen Farrell looks onAndy Christie celebrates on Saracens duty as Owen Farrell looks on (Image: PA)

He added: “It is difficult, potentially more mentally than physically because you are mentally in it and you can have a week like that one we had against England and mentally you are committed and have that big week, then you have to fly home and things are going on up here and you can’t be involved in it.  

“Then you get back and you feel like you don’t have so long to prepare for a game like this. 

“So, it is difficult. I think we all wish it was different, but it is the situation we’re in right now, and I’m lucky that I have a good club to go back to.”