Scotland full-back Greig Tonks reflected on Saturday’s “incredible” 24-19 victory over Australia as the highlight of his career before turning his attention to next opponents Fiji.
Having been overlooked by national selectors for two years, and not been included in the original summer tour party, former Edinburgh player Tonks was recalled last month when Sean Maitland became injured.
And he repaid the faith shown by new head coach Gregor Townsend by landing a 48-metre penalty – his first points in Test rugby – to open the scoring in Sydney.
“It was incredible. As career highlights go, it will definitely be up there. I would say it’s the highlight,” Tonks said.
“The whole week was incredible. I was not originally going to be on the tour and was then selected quite late. To be picked, then to be starting, then to kick some points and go on to win the game against Australia was something pretty special. It has got to be up there.”
Part of the reason Tonks had been out of the picture was his move 18 months ago from Edinburgh to London Irish, who were last summer relegated to the second-tier Championship.
“I would not say I was worried but with London Irish being relegated I knew it would be difficult, really hard, for them to pick somebody who is playing Championship rugby,” he said.
“We have been training like a Premiership team, though, and now we are a Championship-winning team that is back in the Premiership – that was always the aim.
“I always had it (Scotland) in the back of my mind but my aim was to play my best rugby and then whatever happened off the back of it.”
He has been kicking regularly at club level and was keen to try his luck as the long-range specialist for Scotland too.
“It is something I spoke to Gregor Townsend about before we left,” the South Africa-born 28-year-old said.
“I said, ‘I would love to be scoring points for Scotland’. It was something I had not done until Saturday. It was a good day all round.
“The kick was early on, so it got us into the match. It was quite a way out and it sailed through with a few yards to go. I was pretty chuffed.”
Tonks and his Scotland team-mates have now travelled from Sydney to Suva, where they will play Fiji on Saturday.
“We know a bit about them,” Tonks said. “They are all individually very skilful, very talented players, good athletes. It will be physical – big guys who hit hard – and it will be tough conditions since it will be hot.
“We have got good structures in place. We are going to do quite a lot of analysis on them and see what they are about, then put a game-plan in place to win.
“It will be tough. We will have to get to know them pretty well so we know what they are going to bring.”