Tim Visser today declared an interest in using tomorrow’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby in Glasgow to not only help Edinburgh achieve a rare win in the fixture but boost prospects of a return to international rugby this summer.
The 26-year-old winger has started just one match since breaking a leg last October but feels the upside can be a feeling of freshness as the domestic campaign draws to a close ahead of Scotland’s visits to Argentina, the Americas and South Africa.
“The timing is great in that if I can get some game time now I can maybe play some rugby this summer. I’ve missed pretty much the whole season but if I can play myself on to the tour the benefit for me is that I might be peaking during these internationals.
“I’ve got two or three games to prove myself. I wouldn’t say I am on schedule but I wouldn’t say I’m up against it either. I’ve missed a lot of international rugby and I’d love to go on tour, especially the places we are going to. But it is slightly far fetched to be thinking that way after only one game back.”
While refusing to get ahead of himself, Visser does know that stakes are particularly high when the two SRU-run professional teams clash.
“It’s not just a normal league game,” admits Visser who is equally aware Edinburgh are 29 points behind a Glasgow team who hope to jump into the top two and close out a home play-off semi-final. So, how can such a chasm be closed?
“Emotion,” asserts Visser, adding: “We have brought some big physicality to our game. We need to try to bring that, really dominate and pair it with some of the emotion. We can draw on players trying to play for spots with Scotland.
“Passion and emotion needs to play a part. Everyone brings determination and grit, that’s a given otherwise you would not be here. Passion can get you that extra six to 10 per cent.”
Nevertheless, with basically the same resources Glasgow have stretched ahead. How does Visser explain that?
Again, one key word suffices: Stability.
Visser adds: “In my four years at Edinburgh, I’ve already had several coaches and there has been a big influx of players and a lot going out as well. Glasgow have been able to build a team over the last couple of years.”
One change since Visser’s return from injury concerns Matt Scott, now operating at outside centre and the pair combined brilliantly for the one high spot of last weekend when Edinburgh became the first Scottish team to lose to Zebre.
“Matty’s try against Zebre came from the same move we once tried for Scotland and although he got over the line he had over-run me and the ‘try’ was disallowed. I joked to him in Italy this time that he’d done well to stay onside. The way Matt runs over top of players is unbelievable. If he does that a little bit closer to me on the wing so much the better, although Nick De Luca made a lot of tries for me from outside centre where I just had to fall over the line.”
At one point this season – as Visser reveals – De Luca moved from provider to comforter.
“When I broke my leg against Treviso Nick knew right away that I was worried to look down and there was immediate reassurance that my ankle was still straight.
“The first couple of months after a break are tough. Then people start throwing numbers around: the surgeon says you might be back playing in four months, the physios say five and the coaches wonder if it might be as little as two months. As soon as you can do weights and then running time does fly past though.
“It’s a bit of a shock when you do return to the pitch, however, because you feel fresh and quick but, actually, you’re not. There’s a spring and a sharpness that only comes from playing games but I am getting there.”
For Edinburgh it is a case of sooner rather than later for a player whose four early season tries leave him only three behind Cornel Du Preez.
Still time to preserve his record as perennial team top try-scorer? A tall order but the sort of challenge Visser is known to relish.