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Hamilton keen to experience more

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James Hamilton hopes he made a big enough impression on his RBS 6 Nations debut for Scotland to keep his place in the squad for the next challenge against Wales.

The Leicester Tigers lock was cheered on from the stands by his family as he made his first start for Scotland in the 42-20 defeat by an England side which included five of his club colleagues.

"Other than the scoreline, I really enjoyed it," said Hamilton, who had made two previous international appearances as a replacement. "It was a fantastic occasion, the stadium was awesome and the crowd was great.

"We didn't play badly, but Jonny Wilkinson was on fire for England and Harry Ellis had a very good game. He was a 'slippery slug'. He is at his best with a pack going forward and when he is picking off players on the outside from scrums and rucks and mauls. I am very happy for him, though obviously I wasn't during the game!"

Hamilton was an important part of the Scotland set-piece when he was in direct opposition to Tigers colleagues George Chuter, Martin Corry and Louis Deacon.

"I thought the line-outs went quite well for us. We got a try from a turnover at one of them, but we are obviously disappointed with the result," he said. "In the first 10 minutes we defended very well and then we got more possession and we were still in it at 17-10 at half-time. We got a penalty just after half-time and I was thinking 'we could do a job here' but they just kept going and kept going. They got a couple of scores and the Wilkinson try, and it was frustrating that they got away from us.

"Once it got going I did not really realise who was in an England shirt in front of me and I think I saw more of Martin Corry in the line-out than I did of Louis Deacon because we were trying to change things around and I found myself up against Cozza at the back a few times.
"You just see a white shirt and know you have to get stuck in, you don't really recognise who is wearing the shirt."

After his first taste of Six Nations rugby, Hamilton is understandably eager to build on the experience.

"We were disappointed afterwards but you can either dwell on it or you can look to build towards another big game against Wales this weekend," he said. "Nathan Hines will be fighting fit and ready to go, and Scott Murray came off the bench in the second half on Saturday. It is like the Tigers situation with four second rows battling it out for the two places, but hopefully I have done enough to stake a claim so the guys cannot just walk straight back into the team. That is all you can do, but when you are in a losing side you know you just have to wait and see."