- 11 Sep 07, 11:18 AM
St Etienne is a strange place to be at the moment.
The excitement of the first glimpse of the Rugby World Cup at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard (he founded a supermarket chain if you were wondering) has now given way to a general torpor, a hibernation until the next game is staged here and Samoa take on the United States - in just over two weeks' time.
But in this sleepy environment, Scotland’s rugby players continue to inhabit the accommodation and training camp of St Etienne Football Club. Alleviating the boredom must be a major concern.
The Secret Diary of Jason White, aged 29 and ¾.
Tuesday: Up early for breakfast – 16 egg-white omelettes, 14 bananas, 24 slices of wholegrain toast. One bowl Coco-Pops (milk to be added at very last minute. Still amazed at how it turns brown.)
Midday weights session.
Then afternoon weights session.
Then early evening weights session.
Then dinner – as breakfast, plus fatted calf. And protein shake.
Then to bed. With weights.
Wednesday: As above.
Thursday: As above
Friday: etc etc etc.
So there are plans afoot to make life in St Etienne just that little bit more interesting.
Today is new boy Alasdair Dickinson’s 24th birthday. The cruel injury to Allan Jacobsen may mean that he has been given his chance in rather unfortunate circumstances, but after arriving last night he is to be welcomed with an enormous cake bearing 24 candles.
And then he’ll be off to a weights session.
Incidentally, for those of you who don’t know about Dickinson, who now plies his trade with Gloucester, he is possibly the quickest prop I have seen.
And a good bit taller than Jacobsen as well. Scotland assistant coach George Graham described him as ‘one of the new shape of props’. Very different to Graham himself who more resembles Ram Man from ‘Masters of the Universe’.
Also on the agenda for the Scotland squad tomorrow is some sort of challenge against a few of the players from St Etienne Football Club – cynics are suggesting that it may well end in a similar scoreline to the Euro 2008 qualifier between France and Scotland on Wednesday night.
But all of this is necessary because of the long stretch between Scotland’s first and second games – how they would prefer to have nine days between the New Zealand and Italy games at the end of the month.
Instead they continue to prepare for the meeting with Romania, which takes place at Murrayfield next Tuesday. So you may well be asking ‘Why are Scotland still in France?’
Good question – to which I’m led to believe the answer is because of World Cup rules, stipulating a certain amount of time must be spent in the host country.
So we wait, and wait and do weights.
Hopefully I will have something more substantial to talk about in the days to come (discussion about poor ticket sales for the Romania game anyone?) and I can only apologise for my ramblings here. It’s what a couple of aimless days in St Etienne can do to a man.
But now I’m off to watch an early afternoon weights session and perhaps treat myself to a protein shake.
Andrew Cotter is a BBC Sport commentator specialising in rugby union and golf. He is covering Scotland at the World Cup for Radio 5live and you can see the station's full broadcast schedule here.