Tim Visser is desperate to play in the World Cup

Tim Visser got close up to the Rugby World Cup when it was brought to Edinburgh. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Tim Visser got close up to the Rugby World Cup when it was brought to Edinburgh. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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Departing Edinburgh Rugby winger Tim Visser is poised to write another chapter in the record books before he links up with his new colleagues at Harlequins.

The free-scoring flyer would be the first Dutch-born player to appear in a Rugby World Cup if he features for Scotland this autumn.

While that is a tantalising prospect, Visser is taking nothing for granted. “It has always been a massive goal for me,, he says. “There is nothing bigger in the sport than the World Cup. But this is just another small step along the way.”

His involvement in the initial squad has garnered media attention in his homeland where the tournament will be screened for the first time. And should he make the cut, he will be serving the interests of both the country of his birth and his adopted nation as he explained. “I have always said that me playing for Scotland is better for rugby in Holland than me playing for Holland.”

Visser stresses his delight at donning the thistle, but is quick to dismiss the notion that his arrival in the Capital six years ago was with the specific goal of earning international selection. He came, he insists, with the objective of playing club rugby, with the possibility of playing at a higher level a distant prospect.

During his time in the city, the 28-year old, who is an ambassador for DHL, the Official Logistics Partner of RWC 2015, has gathered a host of accolades including a place in the Pro12 dream team and the title of leading try scorer for four successive seasons. Since qualifying for Scotland on residential grounds he has built a cap tally of 18 and has touched down for seven tries.

Brought to Edinburgh by Andy Robinson, who moved on to the job of national coach and subsequently handed Visser his first cap, the player also acknowledges the input of other individuals who have helped him evolve into a fearsome 
finisher.

“I’ve learned something from all the coaches I’ve worked with but Rob Moffat did most for me when he took over at Edinburgh. He was a brilliant hands–on coach who helped me develop and placed his trust in me by picking me for the team,” he states before endorsing the contribution of Scotland director of rugby Scott Johnson, whom he describes as, “one of the best technical coaches I have dealt with”.

He also apportions credit to Matt Taylor, defence coach with the national side, who has helped the winger address an area of weakness, his tackling.

Memorable occasions of his spell at the club include reaching a Heineken Cup semi-final and this year’s European Challenge Cup final, but for Visser the pinnacle came on a chilly night in January against Scottish rivals Glasgow Warriors.

“The highlight for me was winning the 1872 Cup after losing the first game in Glasgow,” he says with obvious delight. “After six years at the club, getting the trophy was the icing on the cake.”

However, he acknowledges that his form this season was inconsistent – he managed only six touchdowns in the Guinness Pro12 plus two on European duty. He attributes that to a range of factors including the time it took him to regain full fitness after returning from injury and a style of play which was less favourable for wide men.

While the World Cup is his immediate focus – the Scotland squad will meet on Monday and travel to the Pyrenees for altitude training – Visser is also relishing the opportunity to showcase his skills with Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership next season.

Leaving the Capital, he concedes, will be a wrench. However, believing the time was right to move on, he is convinced that ignoring overtures from a host of other suitors and opting to switch to Harlequins was the right choice. The arrival of Welsh internationalists Adam Jones and Jamie Roberts helped cement the decision but it was the thoughts of the coach that concluded the debate for Visser.

“Conor O’Shea is a great guy and we agree absolutely on how the game should be played,” added the man who has much to look forward to over the coming months.