PETER Murchie has admitted that the best way to press his Scotland claim is to make sure he is once again the ultimate team player for Glasgow.
The full-back finished last season as first choice for the Warriors, having ousted Stuart Hogg to start eight of the last nine games leading up to the Pro12 final and then kept the shirt for the final itself as Glasgow came up short against Leinster.
The 28-year-old then saw service with Scotland over the summer and seemed set for a big season after starting the new league campaign in possession of the No 15 shirt when Warriors were again pitted against Leinster. Yet it has not turned out that way and Murchie’s last outing came in the 33-12 win over Cardiff at the Arms Park on 14 September, as Hogg reclaimed his place at the apex of Glasgow’s backline.
With a match-day illness then ruling Murchie out of a return to the fray at Ulster a fortnight ago and ending his hopes of being included in Vern Cotter’s 33-player squad for the viagogo Autumn Test Series, the level of frustration experienced by the player was enough to test the patience of a saint.
Yet now, at last, in the shape of Friday’s visit of an improving Treviso side, Murchie has the chance to reignite his season.
“Frustration is a very good way to start in summing-up just how I have been feeling. I am just desperate to play on Friday and get back into action,” said Murchie.
“But I must stress this is not all about me, it is about the team and my ability to fit back into our patterns and do the best job I can for Glasgow.
“Clearly I have not been in view of the selectors of late and it goes without saying I’d love to get back into the Scotland squad, but the only way to do that is produce my best form for Glasgow.
“Never in all the games I have had against Treviso have we had it easy and they look like they have picked things up a level both defensively and offensively with the way they performed against Racing Metro at the weekend in the European Rugby Champions Cup, so it is a great game to come back into.
“So I feel like I am in a good place to pick up from where I was in the opening game of the season against Leinster. Obviously it would have been better for me if I hadn’t fallen ill on match-day ahead of the Ulster game, but there is nothing I can do about that.
“All that matters now is producing my best form against Treviso and using all of that frustration as a positive driver in that regard.”
Murchie is also confident that Glasgow can surf the feelgood factor provided by their heroics in Europe to finish the first third of the league season on a high and retain their current top-two Guinness Pro 12 status. “There may have been 23 players in the match-day squad at Montpellier but there are 45-50 at the club and everyone, including the support staff, got a huge lift from Saturday’s victory,” he said.
“It is up to the guys who come in for the Treviso game to carry on from where the players that delivered at the Altrad left off. But as I said I have a lot of respect for Treviso and they have a lot of big powerful men who will give us all the trouble we can handle.”
Warriors assistant head coach Shade Munro believes that despite the disruption of the Scotland squad player drain, plus skipper Al Kellock’s unavailability due to his inclusion in the Barbarians squad for Saturday’s game with Australia, Glasgow are well versed in what is needed to claim a home and away league double over the Italians.
Munro said: “In many ways Treviso have a very similar style of play to that of Bath, Montpellier and indeed Ulster. They like to use the set-piece and driving mauls to claim penalties and also territory, so although there may be personnel changes for Friday, we have a squad of players who have all been part of a lot of work against other teams with similar tactics to Treviso and that is a definite plus.”