Ben Toolis may still have to wait for his chance to make up for his nightmare first cap but the big second row will be ready when the call does come.
The rangy 24-year-old is playing the best rugby of his career with Edinburgh, ironically as a tight five forward thriving all the more in Duncan Hodge’s new open gameplan for the capital side.
He’s back in the Scotland squad for the forthcoming Six Nations but faces a hugely competitive battle among a second row unit that includes the Gray brothers in possession of the starting jerseys, Tim Swinson in the form of his life for Glasgow and clubmate Grant Gilchrist.
And he has the memory of his only cap so far, when he came on against Italy at BT Murrayfield two years ago and was yellow-carded – along with fellow debutant Hamish Watson – as Scotland collapsed to a chastening loss in the final minutes.
“It was unlucky and probably not the best first cap but I’m sure if I did get grief about it I wouldn’t be picked now,” he said.
“Hamish got a yellow card as well. We just tend to have a laugh about it now. It was a shame it happened – two debuts, two yellow cards – but you just have to get on with things.
“For him, it didn’t hold him back. He is playing extremely well now, he had three starts on the bounce in the autumn and played really well. I don’t think he’s thinking about the yellow card anymore and neither do I.”
All Toolis can do is concentrate on his own game, do what the coaches ask of him, and hope for his chance.
“Second row for Scotland is quite difficult. Personally, I’m happy with the way I’m playing, I’ve just got to keep doing my part and keep improving the things I want to improve and the things the coaches want me to improve.
“It’s not specifically things I have to do to put myself in front of those other guys. It’s the things they want me to work on, more dominance in defence for example.
“But my lineout work is really good and they can’t really fault me with the way I’m playing. I’m happy with the feedback I’m getting.”
Toolis’ case is definitely helped by Edinburgh’s improved form, although he admits vthe club ared still inconsistent.
“I think there are 12 guys from Edinburgh who are involved here, and that’s good for us. Our season has had its ups and downs, but we are coming off a few good wins and we are into the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals now.
“After being under Solly (Alan Solomons) for a few years to took a bit of time to adapt to what Duncan Hodge wanted to do, but we’ve all supported it and we all like the way he wants the game played.
“We are all enjoying it a lot more now. The performance against Harlequins we showed people what kind of rugby we can play, it’s now just about being more consistent.
“I certainly am enjoying the game more, it’s a bit more of a free-flowing game for meand growing up in Australia, I’m used to playing that kind of rugby, even from the second row.”
Scotland’s first game in the championship is against Ireland and Toolis has had plenty of battles with the Irish international locks.
“They are big guys, Devin Toner rules the lineouts and is key to their attacks,” he said.
“We know they will be niggly, that’s just the type of team they are. They are in pretty good form at the moment so they will have confidence going into this game.
“We get the niggle a lot from them. It all came from when Paul O’Connell played before he retired, he set the tone and they’ve carried it on.
“It’s going to be difficult for whoever gets picked but we know what to expect.”