Edinburgh back-row David Denton has admitted that the speed of his journey from club to international rugby has surprised even him.
The 21-year-old Denton, who has been a key player for Edinburgh in this year’s RaboDirect PRO12, was plying his trade in the Edinburgh Accies 2nd XV just 18 months ago but will make his first start for Scotland on Saturday.
And first starts don’t come any bigger than at Murrayfield against England in a Six Nations opener.
But the Zimbabwe-born Denton, who will start at No.8 on the weekend, insists his time in the RaboDirect PRO12 has been the perfect preparation for this weekend.
“A year ago this would have all seemed very, very far away, but the club game at Accies and then at Stirling County has played a big part in my development,” he said.
“I then became involved with Edinburgh, took my chance and things have snowballed from there.
“Scotland-England is the biggest rugby match in the world and it will be an incredible experience.
“It’s a match I’ve watched on TV and dreamed of playing in since I was a kid. It’s going to be amazing.
“I was always told, while growing up, that we supported Scotland – and anyone who played against England.”
Saturday won’t be Denton’s first appearance in navy blue after a 20-minute cameo against Ireland in a World Cup warm-up game back in August.
But the 21-year-old failed to make the cut for Andy Robinson’s 30-man World Cup squad, an experience that Denton insists he is all the stronger for.
“Missing out on a place at the World Cup helped push me forward – Andy Robinson had a few words with me after his squad was announced and said the same thing.
“He told me not to take it too much to heart and to carry on playing and prepare myself for the Six Nations.
“That has always been my philosophy – to try to play as well as you can and then hopefully opportunities such as this one against England present themselves.
“If we don’t get the go forward ball against England we’re going to struggle to score tries. We must get on the front foot.
“That’s my main job in the team, that’s what I’m there to do. We’ve got to put our hands up and get ourselves on the front foot.
“I feel that my ball carrying has been going well at Edinburgh and hopefully I can bring that on Saturday.”