DTH Van der Merwe has had to wait until the end of April for his first RaboDirect PRO12 appearance but the Canadian’s timing couldn’t be better.
The prolific three-quarter came on for what could be a crucial late try as Glasgow Warriors edged past Treviso 13-8 at the Stadio Monigo last Sunday.
It’s a testament to the Warriors’ strength in depth that they are still in pole position despite playing the entire season without last season’s top scorer.
Van der Merwe racked up nine tries in 19 league games last year and is desperate to play a key role for the Warriors in the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs after recovering from a shoulder injury suffered during the World Cup.
And Van der Merwe is confident he is back to full fitness at the business end of the campaign.
He said: “It’s a real relief to be back and it was great to get a try to help the team get an important result.
“It’s been frustrating with the injury, I had to wait four weeks before I could have the operation because of nerve damage so I’ve been kept out for longer than I would have liked.
“Every game is must-win for us so it’s great to get the win under our belts against Treviso.
“Italy is a very tough place to go. They have shown they are quality team this year, especially in front of a massive crowd.
“It’s been tough doing the fitness work but I feel like I’m at 100 per cent.
“Being back now is really exciting with the end of the season coming up. The push for the play-offs has started and we know we just need to beat Connacht next week to get there.
“That will be another tricky one but we are desperate to be in the top four at the end of the season.”
In Van der Merwe’s absence Glasgow coach Sean Lineen has been forced to look to youth for some attacking inspiration with Stuart Hogg and Alex Dunbar both catching the eye.
And the Canadian admits he is a little concerned about getting his place back ahead of the in-form youngsters.
He added: “It’s a little nerve-wracking, Stuart Hogg was breaking into the Glasgow team when I was injured and now he’s not only a star for the Warriors but for Scotland as well.
“Alex Dunbar has had to wait with Graeme Morrison in front of him but he has done very well since he’s got a chance and it’s really good for the future for the club.”