As Scotland rugby coach Scott Johnson prepares to unveil a team to tackle South Africa in Sunday’s viagogo Test at Murrayfield, the experience of Nick De Luca promises to be even more vital.
Even before fellow Edinburgh centre Matt Scott was ruled out for six weeks with a broken hand, Johnson was highlighting the 39-times capped De Luca as someone who provides substance to the back-line.
“Nick is resilient, tough – all the qualities you like in a player,” said Johnson. “He had a couple of errors he needs to look at (against Japan) but he adds starch to our side.”
Johnson also hopes to see replicated standards shown when another Edinburgh player, Ally Dickinson, rounded off slick handling with a try against Japan.
That has set a benchmark according to Johnson, who insisted: “It did take us until the 60th minute to hit the line at pace and show those skills.
“There were good skills in there, though, and the beauty of a try like that is it highlights the capability we have.”
Edinburgh’s Jack Cuthbert, Tom Brown, Lee Jones and Ross Rennie are among those added to the Scotland squad by Johnson.