Only two years Adam Ashe was that guy, the youngster lauded in his first Scotland cap barely out of the Under 20s and apparently set for a long and glittering career in the national team back row.
Two years on the Alva man has signed a new deal with the Glasgow Warriors, but he does it having not played a game this season, and watching as Magnus Bradbury, who also signed on for three years at Edinburgh yesterday, has become the youngster in vogue.
“That’s rugby for you, guys are coming through all the time, and if you’re going to make a living at this game, you’ve got to be prepared,” said Ashe, who will make his return from a nagging hip problem off the bench in the 1872 Cup Boxing Day derby against Bradbury’s Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
Ashe underwent an operation to correct a hip joint problem that had gradually worn down to the point where it was even painful to sit down, and he played 40 minutes for Ayr in the BT Premiership last Saturday before getting a place in the matchday squad.
“It’s a good game to back into, I think, right at the deep end,” he said. “I’ve been training with the team for 3 to 4 weeks now, it took a long time to build back up to the contact level.
“Even against Ayr it was building up and getting used what it felt like to be hit again. It takes a few things like that before you can get back to the level you want to be at.”
In 2014 Ashe’s first game of professional rugby was his Scotland debut in South Africa, and he was first choice No 8 for the opening two tests that autumn against Argentina and New Zealand, but the story since then has been nagging injuries and inconsistency.
“Last season was difficult, a few injuries, some niggles and not any consistency of being on the field,” he said. “And here at Glasgow, you know you won’t play every game, that’s just the way it is.
“The aim now is to get a good block of games in and some consistency, and the performances will follow after that. I’m not even thinking about Scotland, I just want to enjoy playing some good rugby; the enjoyment is back already and I’m excited about playing in this game.”
Ashe signed on at Glasgow for two more years despite not having fully recovered from injury.
“I wondered about it, will they wait until I get back playing,”he added. “But the contract I was offered was perfect for me and I’m happy here, it’s a great club.”
Glasgow will be without four of the team who played in both legs of the European clashes with Racing 92 on Monday, due to player rest protocols. Tommy Seymour, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson and Gordon Reid all drop out of the squad having played five games in a row.
Junior Bulumakau will make his first start for the Warriors on the wing as reward for a prolific spell with Glasgow Hawks and a try on his replacement appearance against Ospreys last month.
Brian Alainu’uese comes into the second row, Simone Favaro returns to the back row after missing the second leg against Racing and Alex Allan will start in place of Reid.
Gregor Townsend also brings back co-captain Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half and Ali Price, despite tries in his last three games, drops to the bench.
Glasgow team: S Hogg; J Bulumakau, M Bennett, A Dunbar, L Jones; F Russell, H Pyrgos; A Allan, F Brown, Z Fagerson; B Alainu’uese, J Gray; R Harley, S Favaro, J Strauss.
Replacements: P MacArthur, R Grant, S Puafisi, A Ashe, C Fusaro, A price, N Griugg, S Lamont.