As young Scots rugby talent Adam Hastings sat on the Bath bench on Christmas Eve he could have taken a moment to reflect on a successful 2016.
The year began with the stand-off playing a starring role as Scotland under-20s defeated England 24-6 in the age-grade Six Nations in February.
It ended with him in Bath’s matchday squad for an Aviva Premiership encounter with Wasps that was played in front of a crowd of more than 26,000 at the Ricoh Arena.
Bath lost that match 40-26, but for Hastings it was his latest top-team involvement in a very encouraging season to date – and the 20-year-old wants to kick on in the coming months.
“I think the experience last season with Bath and with Scotland under-20s in the Six Nations was great for me,” he said. “It showed me where my game needed to be and the things I had to really work on – and really just what it takes to play at a high level.
“I think all of the Scottish lads took great confidence from beating England in the Six Nations and after that tournament when I came back down south I tried to impose myself on games a lot more.
“During the summer the under-20 World Championships was a great experience.
“Again we showed what we could do with a win over Australia early on, but injuries took their toll and we just really ran out of gas to be honest.
“However, we were proud of what we achieved and it has been great in the last six months to see so many of the guys playing professionally and taking the next step on the ladder.”
When he arrived back at Bath for pre-season after the World Championships the son of Scottish great Gavin found a new coaching team at Bath to impress.
Director of rugby Todd Blackadder and head coach Tabai Matson were now in charge and Hastings recalls: “Obviously it was a bit strange for myself with Mike Ford away because he is all I had known in my time at Bath, but in rugby we all know that things change and you just have to get your head down and get on with it.
“I was involved in the Singha Sevens at the start of the season and that helped me get back to full fitness and since then I have been lucky enough to be involved in quite a few first-team games.
“Being involved with Hartpury College has also been really good for me because it has meant when there are no ‘A’ games or I am not with the first team I can keep fit and working on things.
“ ‘The Rec’ is such a good ground to play at and the crowd are always right behind us. In other places where rugby teams are, players can probably walk about unnoticed most of the time, but in Bath if you go out for a coffee with team-mates or anything supporters are always straight over to chat to you because they are so keen to talk about the next big match.
“That is a really great thing because it shows how much they care and makes us all feel at home no matter where we are from.”
Hastings knows it will be tough to get more first-team action because he has England’s George Ford and Wales cap Rhys Priestland ahead of him in the queue for the No 10 jersey.
“How can I not learn from the two of them though? They have been there and done it around the world and they also know what it is like coming through as a young player,” he stated. “George is top class and just watching how he carries himself and what he does in training is helping to make me better and better. Rhys is a different type of 10, but I am learning things from him all of the time too.
“They are showing me different ways to play the game in different situations and that is helping me a lot. Both of them are also really approachable and that is great as a young guy because you feel like you can ask them anything. The culture at Bath is great.”