Since the beginning of this season, Scott Lawson has had plenty to smile about.
The 36 year-old has been one of the standout performers for Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership this season and his form at Kingston Park earned him an international recall to the Scotland team.
After watching Gregor Townsend’s side produce some excellent displays in the autumn of 2017, Lawson was named in Scotland’s Six Nations squad after a three-year absence.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 11, 2018
“It was amazing because you have to always aim to play for your country,” said Lawson.
“I have still been playing consistently well for Newcastle Falcons and it is a testament to the form of Newcastle because players like myself have been noticed and have been selected to play for their country. I am now enjoying my involvement and I hope it continues.”
Scotland’s first win of the Six Nations against France on Sunday was an excellent response after their defeat to Wales at the start of the month, but for Lawson, it was a double success last weekend.
For just over two years, Lawson has been Head Coach of National Two North side Tynedale and victory over South Leicester on Saturday kept the North East outfit in the promotion hunt following a sixth placed finish last term.
“For ourselves, we came into the league this year and our main ambition was to be better than last season,” he explained.
“We got relegated three years ago from National One and then we struggled so it shows how tough the transition is.
“We were able to battle through the first couple of years just to stabilise ourselves in the league, but this season, we got off to a flying start and we are now just taking each game as it comes.
“We don’t have a grand plan. We don’t have major ambitions which need to be realised quickly. We just want to focus on winning every game we play and enjoy our rugby along the way.”
Lawson took on his current role at Corbridge during a difficult period for the club.
Tyne had only recently been relegated from National One and were struggling on and off the pitch, but Lawson believes the club is now heading in the right direction.
“The job landed on me a little bit, said Lawson. “I live locally to the club and I was down just doing a bit of coaching with the Under 18s and a little bit with the senior squad.
“The floods happened at the club and former coach Andy Buist pursued other opportunities abroad so I was then asked if I would take on the role.
“With me still being a professional player, I knew I couldn’t commit to every Saturday or every training session so alongside Matthew Fieldhouse and Tom Wilkinson, we devised a system which allowed us to cover everything.
“It is not the most orthodox situation and it was explained to the players because ultimately, they are the main people at the club.
“Credit must be given to them because they have bought into the idea and we have all found a way for it to work. There is not always the same coach there on a Saturday, but it keeps it fresh and it is a great environment to be a part of.”
And the culture which Lawson and his coaching staff have established at Tynedale as helped the North East side find their feet at this level and with 10 games left in their season to play, they find themselves just seven points off the top two places.
Tynedale’s inconsistent recent form has hampered their progress up the division, but with fixtures against fellow promotion candidates Hinckley and Stourbridge to come before the end of February, Lawson is just focused on concluding the month on a positive note.
“Of course you play to win,” he added. “There is no doubt that we want to be challenging for the top places.
“But like I said before, there is no masterplan. We just want to keep focused on the club and keep building.
“We knew February was going to be a tough month for us. We have already played Sale FC and South Leicester and then we play Hinckley away this weekend and then face Stourbridge so we would’ve played the current top three.
“We did have a tough game against Sale away from home, but we responded by getting a good result on Saturday. We will go to Hinckley and give it our best shot.
“We will go down with the same attitude we always do, and we will play to the best of our ability each week because we certainly have a group of players who can do just that”
For Lawson, it’s now back to the grind of National Two North this weekend following Murrayfield jubilation.