Matt Scott could not have picked a better time than the weekend just past to score two tries as Scotland head coach Vern Cotter is set to make big decisions about his Six Nations squad soon.
The Scots begin their campaign in the tournament at home to Ireland on February 4 and Cotter certainly has a selection headache – of the good kind – for that BT Murrayfield clash.
The likes of Alex Dunbar, Huw Jones, Mark Bennett, Duncan Taylor and former Currie and Edinburgh Rugby man Scott are all after the 12 and 13 jerseys – and Scott certainly did his hopes no harm on Saturday.
The 26-year-old bagged two tries as Gloucester defeated Worcester Warriors 55-19 at Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership.
The Cherry and Whites played some great attacking rugby and Scott was a key part of that as was young Scottish scrum-half Ben Vellacott who came on for Greig Laidlaw.
The double took Scott’s try tally for the league season to eight – and now he has targeted a Scotland recall.
He said: “I was absolutely gutted to miss out on the Autumn Tests. Centre is an extremely competitive position now whereas in the past it maybe wasn’t as much.
“It’s a great thing for Scottish rugby that there are so many people battling for places, but I’m absolutely desperate to get back in the mix for the Six Nations.
“I have got to keep improving aspects of my all-round game just to get in the squad. If I’m in the squad up in Edinburgh training [in the coming weeks before the event] where the coaches can watch me day in day out, I hope I can show them that I am worthy of a place again.
“When I missed out on the November matches, Scotland felt a couple of the other centres were more defensively sound than me and the other two, Bennett and Jones, had a bit of ‘X factor’ at 13. They said to me to keep working on my defence and keep going the way I am going.
“Scoring tries gets your name in the papers but, for me, it’s about the whole performance and there are other aspects of my performance that needed working on in the Worcester match; sometimes scoring tries glosses over that.
“I like to look at everything and make sure that everything keeps moving in the right direction.”
As he mentioned, Scott was overlooked for the November clashes with Australia, Argentina and Georgia.
That snub came after he started both summer matches in Japan, but he feels that the first six months or so of his Gloucester career has set him up nicely for the rigours of the international game once again.
“I said at the time when I left Edinburgh that it was a bit of a risk, but that I wanted to test myself in a new environment and moving south has been good for me,” said the 36-times capped player.
“I’ve enjoyed playing in the English league. There is quality opposition to come up against every week and I have been playing against some of the best players in the world which tests you physically and mentally.
“There are some quality teams in the Guinness PRO12, the difference in the Aviva Premiership is that, with the relegation threat looming, teams put their strongest side out every week whereas in the PRO12 the bigger teams have the luxury of resting their internationals for some games.
“Whenever you move to a new club you wonder if it might take you time to settle in, but everyone at Kingsholm has been really good to me and made it easy.
“I’ve absolutely loved the changing room environment and the change of club. It’s the same in any job, you can get comfortable in your surroundings and it’s nice to move elsewhere and challenge yourself once again.”