Like all the players who will represent Scotland in the season ahead, Nick De Luca would love to spend next summer in Australia with the British and Irish Lions.
While making no predictions – other than to say “the Lions are a goal for every player but unrealistic for most of us” – the Edinburgh centre does appear to have an edge over most rivals. Playing a full part in the 9-6 win over Australia in Newcastle in June enabled De Luca to add to his Murrayfield victory over the Wallabies in 2008 when Scotland edged home 9-8. A 100 per cent record from two meetings against the two-time world champions must be the envy of many but, typically, De Luca plays down suggestions that he and the Scotland team have some sort of Indian sign over the Wallabies.
“We’ve managed to beat Australia twice but not in the fashion we wanted. Hopefully some of the boys will get that chance next summer,” he says.
Speaking at the launch of Edinburgh Rugby’s new kit, De Luca says the priority is to do well for Edinburgh, after which prospects of adding to his 35 caps will take care of themselves. Similarly, anybody doing well for Scotland can boost chances of a Lions tour. First, though, come domestic matters. De Luca said: “Edinburgh’s league performances last season were poor and to finish second bottom was terrible. We really showed our best in Europe but can’t rely just on that form.
“As for the European Cup, we have a home start (against Saracens) and it is important to get that first win under our belt so we don’t have to go looking for one away from home to get up and running.”
Regarding Scotland’s hopes, De Luca, widely credited with helping club-mate Tim Visser make a try-scoring start to his international career, says: “Tim and I have worked well for three years at Edinburgh and it is good to see that relationship continue on the national stage.
“Given the chance, I hope we can continue. Winning three from three on tour was good but doesn’t make up for the disappointments of the Six Nations. They far outweigh the positives from the tour in terms of results. But we have got to draw on our most recent successes ahead of a very tough Autumn Test series (New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga). Scottish rugby is always a work in progress.”