This is insane.
Scotland international Jim Hamilton has revealed details of an absolutely crazy “toughen-up, old-school camp” him and the Scotland players were put through as part of their Rugby World Cup preparations. Head coach Vern Cotter apparently used the exercise in an attempt to weed out any weak links in advance of the tournament.
The story goes that the players were dropped off at at a random point in France after several hours of driving and are were then told to walk for “six or seven hours” up a mountain, wearing the clothes they had travelled in, to a “checkpoint up the mountain”.
According to Hamilton, he is sporting “flip-flops, shorts (and a) Scotland top” while his team-mate Stuart Hogg is “wearing ‘Havana’ flip-flops, shorts, and (has) a ‘Louis Vuitton’ bag”.
After a further “four hours” of walking up the mountain, Hamilton said that they then got to a camp fire. This is where the story gets a little crazy and hard to believe. Hamilton said:
There’s cages, with rabbits in. Literally bunny rabbits. These army guys come in, and we’re all sat round. Vern says-and he’s sat there, in full outdoor hunter gear, big jumper, walking boots, he’s got a knife-he’s like, ‘Right lads, we’ve got four rabbits. We’re cooking this for dinner. Who doesn’t want to kill the rabbits?’
So Richie Gray puts his hand up, Ross Ford, Stuart Hogg and someone else. ‘Right, you four are killing the rabbits.’ So this army guy pulls this bunny rabbit-it’s not even a wild rabbit-(and says), ‘This is how you need to kill it!’
He’s swinging this rabbit around with one hand…next thing he slams it on the floor. The thing’s eyes popped out of its head. He cuts its throat and he’s like, ‘Right, that’s it. You kill it.’
So the boys had to go and kill them. Richie Gray is spinning this thing around…’Vern, I can’t slam it!’ Vern Cotter shouts, ‘Fucking kill it!’
Needless to say, the rabbits were a bit tough.
The players were then forced to sleep outside in the freezing temperatures without sleeping bags or tents before walking back down the mountain at four the following morning. Absolutely insane. The preparations must have helped however as Scotland just missed out on a semi-final berth as a result of some dubious refereeing against Australia.
Hamilton didn’t actually make the final squad in the end, so perhaps he didn’t pass Vern Cotter’s test? [The Rugby Pod]