Moving to Scotland rekindled the fire inside of me

Jack Dempsey made his Scotland debut on Saturday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Jack Dempsey wants to repay Scottish rugby for ‘reigniting its fire’ after the former Wallaby’s recent decision to switch allegiance.

The 28 year old player Glasgow back-rower was born and raised in sydney and won 14 caps for Australia between 2017 and 2019.

However, Dempsey recently made himself available for Scotland following a change to World Rugby’s international eligibility rules which means a capped player can now switch allegiance to another country to which they have ‘a close and credible connection via birthright’ , on the condition that he commits to a period of reflection of three years.

Coincidentally, Dempsey, who has a Scottish grandfather, made his debut for Gregor Townsend’s side in the second half of Saturday’s 16-15 loss to the Wallabiesthe team he last represented in their World Cup group stage win over Georgia in October 2019.

“Listen, I’m not going to lie. I came here (to join Glasgow in 2021) thinking my Testing career was probably over,” he said.

“I didn’t come here specifically to play Test rugby. At that time, the rule did not exist. It was unplanned and a little overwhelming, but I loved every moment of it.

“After I got my cap, I told the guys I came here in a bit of a weird place in my career. I didn’t love my rugby as much as I used to.

“I’m just grateful to have made this gesture. Not just in Glasgow, but in Scotland. The way the city and the country have accepted me has just reignited that fire in me for the past 14 months or so.

“I told the boys that I hope I can repay that faith over the next few weeks, months or years – whatever it is. I’m happy with the decision I’ve made.”

Dempsey is convinced he still has a lot to offer on the international stage.

“I wouldn’t have made this decision if I didn’t think I was up to it,” he said. “Not just playing at this level, but making a statement.

“The way Scotland play, I feel like it suits me well. Whether my role is to come off the bench and add impact, or add experience, I have excited to be there.

“I’ve only been at camp for about a week. I only heard Gregor speak in training for a week. He says it all and he’s the kind of coach you can support.

“I enjoyed meeting all the boys. There is something brewing here that I want to be a part of.

Dempsey made his 60th-minute substitute debut on Saturday and admitted it was “weird” against his former nation.

“There was obviously a big buildup over the week,” he said. “There was always the possibility of that happening and I would be playing against Australia, so I kind of prepared myself.

“Even when the time came it was very strange. At one point on the other side of the fray was Hoops (Michael Hooper). I had played every professional game with him before moving here.

“It’s good for the plot, that one – playing against his old team. I was just happy to go out, get my first cap, and be greeted by all the boys in the family.