AS I wrote last week, I knew there would be some big hits put in by Tonga on Scotland on Saturday, and so it proved.

I also wanted all the players to come through unscathed and that appears to have happened by some miracle, though Rufus McLean is probably still seeing stars from that mid-air hit by Aisea Halo – why referee Nic Berry did not send the Tongan off for a blatant reckless headshot is beyond me. 

It was not a great competitive match, for sure, but you had to admire the way Scotland played, their cohesiveness being so much greater than Tonga’s who really did look like strangers to each other at times.

It’s a truism that you can only beat what is put in front of you, and though it was an under-strength, under-prepared Tonga it was still a ten try romp that the Murrayfield crowd enjoyed – and wasn’t it great to have the fans back? Let’s just hope all the precautions have worked and there’s no further spread of this blasted pandemic which, frankly, could be doing with being taken out and shot all over the planet.  

Victory against either Australia on Sunday or South Africa the following weekend will show how far this Scottish squad is developing under Gregor Townsend, but even if no win is recorded, I am very confident that Scotland will perform well against the Wallabies and the world champions.

I also wrote last week that I hoped Blair Kinghorn would show what he could do in the No. 10 jersey and he proved more than adequate, then showed his versatility by switching to full-back when Ross Thompson came on. With Finn Russell and Adam Hastings returning this weekend, it’s great to see genuine strength in depth at stand-off.

That remark now applies to the entire back line, though the first choice in each position is pretty certain at the moment. I predict Duhan van der Merwe will slot straight back into the starting XV on the wing, not least because it is Australia that Scotland face next – and they are big chaps.

They have height and muscular bulk and showed in the Rugby Championship that they were prepared to front up against the All Blacks and I suspect former Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie will have them running hard and straight on Sunday, though he will know that the Scots are no longer pushovers for a physical team.  

Their captain and my candidate for player of the year, Michael Hooper – I might change to Will Jordan last this month -  is no giant at just 6ft and 15st 13lbs, but it’s the muscular strength of the man which makes him so dangerous and I suspect that if he wins the breakdown, Australia will win the game.

It will be up the Scottish forwards to secure enough ball, and I for one was delighted to see big Pierre Schoeman make such a successful debut against Tonga. The South African born prop qualifies for Scotland on grounds of residency and that has miffed those people who believe that only Scots-born players or those of Scottish parentage should be selected for the national side.

Ideally everyone who plays for Scotland would be born here, because we have such huge player numbers – ha! - but I genuinely worry about what kind of message is being sent in a supposedly inclusive Scotland that even if you live here and ply your trade for three years, as World Rugby rules require, then you’re still not considered Scottish enough.

Frankly I find that attitude almost English in its arrogance and my attitude has always been that if you pull on that dark blue jersey you are a Scot for ever.

Put it this way, even the All Blacks have imports – Tyrel Lomax (Australia), Akira Ioane (Japan), Nepo Laulala (Samoa), Sevue Reece (Fiji) were all born furth of its shores, as was a certain Finlay Christie. Now capped four times and having been outstanding for the Blues in Super Rugby, Christie is the one that got away and whose very existence as an All Black calls into question the SRU’s recruitment procedures.

Emigrating with his family at seven, Christie was spotted at school and was always going to be an international prospect, so you have to ask why money wasn’t thrown at him earlier in his career to get him to come home  - he hails from Peebles.

Yet he is now an All Black, and can never play for Scotland. Who at Murrayfield screwed that one up?