As Vern Cotter prepares to announce his final Scotland squad for the Six Nations, one man who has surely played his way back in from the cold is Matt Scott.
The centre left Edinburgh Rugby after five years to join ex-club colleague Greig Laidlaw at Kingsholm, and has flourished for the Cherry and Whites this season, scoring 11 tries in all competitions.
His latest pair, which helped David Humphreys’ side to a big win against Worcester Warriors on Saturday, are evidence that Scott’s game is evolving and improving under the pressures of the Aviva Premiership.
The 26-year-old’s second try was a 60m run-in after he gathered a loose ball – but think back to Scott’s fifth Test cap against the All Blacks in November 2012, and it was a very different story.
Scott intercepted a pass from Dan Carter, but with 50m to go and the line at his mercy, was forced to find then club colleague Tim Visser, who finished the move off.
Fine margins make huge differences in international rugby, and that is one example of where Scott has developed his game over the last six months with a little extra pace. Another, is the number on his back.
Found almost exclusively in the 12 shirt during five years at Edinburgh, Scott has shifted out one at Kingsholm to fit into the Gloucester midfield alongside Billy Twelvetrees.
He now possesses a more all-round game as a result, and his versatility could prove useful for Cotter during the Six Nations.
With Huw Jones likely to come into the tournament rusty after his off-season, Duncan Taylor only managing a few minutes off the bench for Saracens on his injury recovery (before going off again), and Peter Horne still on the injured list, the door is surely now open for Scott to return. If Jones does make the cut, ironically Scott may find himself shunted back in to 12 to accommodate.
The former Currie centre was reportedly “gutted” after he missed out in the Autumn, but his eye-catching form is sure to see him return for Vern’s final Six Nations in charge when Cotter announces the squad soon.
A starting place is no certainty though; with Alex Dunbar, Jones and Mark Bennett all still in the mix, Scott faces stiff competition if he is to return to the Scotland team.