The Offload chats to... Scott Baldwin

January 10, 2018

Rugby player by day, lion tamer by night!

After picking up the most bizarre injury we’ve ever seen by a rugby player, Scott Baldwin has been back to his very best in an Ospreys shirt, helping the Swansea-based side pick up four victories from their last five games. We caught up with ‘Simba’ to talk current form, International ambitions and find out exactly what happened on that day in South Africa…

The Ospreys had a slow start to the 2017/18 season, but things have picked up in recent weeks with you guys picking up four wins from your last five games. What would you say has changed?

We’ve made slight adjustments to our defence and tried to bring a bit more line speed. We found that teams were finding it quite easy to get over the gain line when playing against us so we’ve worked hard on our line speed, making sure we get off the line quickly and making sure we shut teams down. That has also transferred into our attack, bringing more energy.

Have you guys set yourself any targets for the remainder of the season?

Not really. At the moment we’re just taking each game as it comes and trying to focus on the next task at hand.

The Ospreys are currently sitting second in a very tough European Cup group. Is the European Cup your main focus at the moment?

This week is a massive week for us, we’ve got the double European Champions at home and if we win that game we put ourselves in a position to potentially get out of our group. This is something the Ospreys haven’t done in a long time so our sole focus will be on this weekend’s game.

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have ambitions to get back into the International fold…”

Have you set yourself any personal goals for the remainder of the season?

In the past I would have probably been thinking three steps ahead instead of taking things week by week, so at the moment for me it’s just about sticking to my process, going through my basics and building on that week by week. That’s something I feel I’ve been doing over the past 5-6 weeks so I will look to hopefully keep building on that. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have ambitions to get back into the International fold, but again, that is something that’s out of my control. It’s just about controlling the things that I can control at the moment, which is my individual performances for the Ospreys.

This season, we’ve seen the Cheetahs and the Kings join the PRO14. Do your preparations change when you are playing against a South African side?

The conditions in South Africa are very different to the conditions we have been used to in the PRO12 so it does vary slightly. When we are playing in South Africa we need to be prepared to play a bit more but I’m sure those teams have the same when they have to come to the UK and had to play in the wet, cold and windy conditions which we’ve been playing in for the past 2-3 months.

You picked up possibly the most bizarre injury we’ve ever seen from a rugby player. Can you talk us through what happened that day in South Africa?

On our day off we got taken to a game reserve to go on a safari and at the end of the safari we got given a chance to visit the Lions up close…probably not as close as I got but yea, the owners took us down and let us get up close, take pictures and, if we were comfortable, stroke them. I thought it would be a good idea to stroke the Lioness before the Lion, which in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best thing to do but no, at the time it was something that was very serious and quite scary but looking back at it now, I can see the funny side of the whole thing. Thankfully there was no lasting damage and it’s definitely a story that I will be telling my children and grandchildren in the future.

“…if anything, it brings a smile to my face going to the line-outs.”

Do you still get stick off the boys for what happened?

Not so much the boys, more so the opposition fans. Whenever we play games, especially away, the old ‘Jungle Book’ song gets chanted a lot and so does ‘Watch out for the Lions’ but it’s just taken in good humour now and if anything, it brings a smile to my face going to the line-outs.

Have you picked up any nicknames because of the incident in South Africa?

Nothing major, ‘the Lion King’ is about as far as it goes. Although Bradley Davies keeps calling me ‘Simba’!

You’re moving over to the Kakari X-Kevlar. What’s made you switch to the Kevlar and what makes these boots suitable for your game?

I will be wearing them for the first time this weekend but a couple of the boys have said that they are very comfortable and that they last very well. With me getting a little bit older and a bit heavier, I just need a bit more protection so I am looking forward to giving them a run out at the weekend.

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