Edinburgh second row Rob McAlpine believes being reunited with fellow youth internationals at the club has helped him settle into his first full RaboDirect PRO12 season after the move across Scotland from Glasgow Warriors.
The 21-year-old joined Edinburgh from their Scottish rivals midway through last season and went on to make two appearances while he has played one league game so far this year but appeared twice in Europe.
McAlpine’s move to Edinburgh united him with another of Scotland’s up and coming second rows in Grant Gilchrist who was named as an uncapped player for the upcoming autumn internationals at just 22.
And the 6ft 7ins forward is looking to emulate his club mate and use the first-team chances granted by the international window to catch the eye.
“I want to step up, take my chances and put a marker down where I can,” he told the Edinburgh Evening News.
“The November Test period is something I can focus on and the Six Nations as well.
“When I first came to Edinburgh I was a bit wary, but having played with the likes of Dave Denton, Stuart McInally, Harry Leonard, Robin Hislop and Alex Allan for Scotland Under-20s, there is no shortage of familiar faces around.
“Friendships made with Scotland Under-20s over two World Cups helped me settle in the capital.
“Earlier this year I stopped travelling on a daily basis and now face just a five-minute or so commute to training, which will hopefully help my development.”