Scotland forward Josh Strauss insists the suspension of team-mates Ross Ford and Jonny Gray has enraged the remainder of Vern Cotter’s squad ahead of their World Cup quarter final against Australia on Sunday.
The Dark Blues duo were dealt the devastating blow on Tuesday evening that their tournament was over after being slapped with a three-week ban for their illegal two-man tip-tackle on Samoa flanker Jack Lam.
An appeal remains a possible avenue for Scotland to pursue, although it would appear hooker Ford and lock Gray will be absent for Scotland’s last-eight tussle with the Wallabies.
“We’re all very disappointed for them,” said Strauss. “It was a tough call and I don’t have to make them but we feel it was tough on them. When I heard the news, and I can only speak for myself, I was angry.
“I imagine myself in their shoes and how I would feel if it was me. Personally, that motivates me. I want to put in a performance for them, if selected.
“As a friend, I can say that it was quite harsh, but we took the disappointment [on Tuesday] as a group. Rugby is an environment of adversity and we’ve all had to experience things like this in the past and it will just make us stronger.”
There was also sympathy for the banned pair from Michael Cheika, the coach of two-time world champions Australia and the man who will be plotting their side’s downfall at Twickenham at the weekend.
“I haven’t seen the incident but I feel for them.” he said. “It’s the World Cup, you have worked hard for it and when you get to possibly three finals to play, you miss out.
“The same happened to [Michael] Hooper last week. His grandparents cam over to watch him play [against Wales] and he was suspended. You feel for the players.”