Dave Cherry keen for time to stand still after reaping the rewards of his labour

Andy Newport, PA
·4-min read

Dave Cherry has spent a lifetime trying to fast forward his career towards a Scotland cap.

But now the Edinburgh prop has finally got that cherished honour in his hands, his only wish is that he could hit the slow motion button.

The late bloomer finally made his international debut off the bench in last month’s historic win over England at the age of 30.

It was the satisfying conclusion to a decade and more of graft and effort that has seen Cherry forced to prove himself over and over.

It is only after a three-year stint working under Richard Cockerill – himself a late graduate to the Test arena with England – in the capital that his value in the front-row has been fully recognised by Gregor Townsend.

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Cherry knows he may not have long on the international stage – but the speed at which time has passed since skipper Stuart Hogg allowed Cherry and fellow debutant Cameron Redpath to lift the Calcutta Cup after the Scots’ first Twickenham win in 38 years is concerning.

Looking back on that special moment, he said: “It was so surreal. The whole day was over way too quickly for my liking.

“I remember sitting in the stand and looking at the clock thinking, ‘How’s that 60 minutes gone already?’

“And then it came to the end of the game, and I was in it, and then the final whistle was there before you knew it.

“And then when Hoggy asked me to lift the cup – I think I’ve thanked him about 30 times. It was over so quickly. We zoomed my family in the changing rooms when I got my cap. I look back on it and it’s still a bit unbelievable really.

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“To have my first cap at Twickenham and win the Calcutta Cup – you couldn’t write that, especially with the journey I’ve been on in my career.

“But that whole first cap experience has been and gone. Now you’ve got to concentrate on the next game.

“They keep coming. Yes, it was a great experience, loved it and I’ll never ever forget it, but it’s on to the next game and continuing to learn, continuing to try to get better.”

Injuries to British and Irish Lions candidates Stuart McInally and Fraser Brown have certainly helped Cherry’s call-up case.

But was there a time when he thought his moment had gone?

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“Yes, I thought it had passed me by when I was a lot younger and playing in the Scottish Championship. It’s a notoriously hard place to get out of.

“There are times there when you wonder if you’re ever going to kick on or not as time was marching on. I then went to France which was a bit of a sideways step to go forward.

“But I’m here now as I always believed in myself. Sometimes you need a bit of luck but that’s life. I’ve created my own luck by working hard and I’ve been given my opportunity.

“I’ve taken it with both hands and I’m relishing every moment that I’m in camp or on the field

“It’s all panned out for me now thanks mainly to my own resilience. I have the mantra of never giving up and I guess that’s paid dividends for me.

Richard Cockerill (left) was a late bloomer with England
Richard Cockerill, left, was a late bloomer with England (Chris Bacon/PA)

“Cockers had a similar pathway to me in that someone got injured and that gave him his chance. He reminded me of that a while ago.

“And it shows the benefit of sticking at it. If you’re a little boy who dares to dream then you never know what could happen. That was me and here I am today.”

Now Cherry is dreaming of a win against Ireland on Sunday as Scotland get back to Guinness Six Nations action following last month’s postponed clash.

He said: “We’ve spoken a lot about the physicality as Ireland are a really physical team and hot at the breakdown as well.

“So it’s all about winning the race to the breakdown which is something we did really well against England. We have to carry that into the Ireland game and hopefully dominate that.”