David Denton is buzzing to get going with new club Worcester Warriors and the back-row man is determined to use the move to earn a recall to the Scotland squad.
The 27-year-old has not played for his country since last summer’s tour to Japan, but the transfer from Bath to English Premiership rivals Worcester has come at just the right time for him.
Denton moved to Bath from Edinburgh Rugby in November 2015 after impressing many as Scotland came within seconds of reaching the World Cup semi-finals in the big event in England and Wales.
But things never quite clicked for him at The Rec for some reason and, amid coaching changes at the club, he was injured in an early match in the 2016/17 campaign.
That hamstring injury began a frustrating season for him and although he returned to action early in 2017 more niggles meant that his own campaign ended with a whimper.
“It was very frustrating for me last season,” he said in his first interview since moving to the Sixways Stadium.
“The injury right at the start of the season left me annoyed when I should have been kicking on at Bath and although I had a year left on my contract there I felt that the time was right to seek a fresh start.
“I enjoyed working with all of the coaches and some world class players at Bath, but I felt that the way they wanted me to play the game was not playing to my strengths. When I headed down there I was known as a ball-carrying No 8 who could make good yards in attack and although I worked so hard to adapt and play the game Bath wanted me to I was often in the wider channels. That meant I was making maybe one ball-carry a game rather ten or 15 and I don’t think the Bath fans ever saw the best of me.
“In sport at times you have to wipe the slate clean and start with a fresh outlook and when Worcester showed interest I was keen because everything I had ever seen or heard about their set-up was positive.
“I had a great break away from the game which is what I needed, spending time with my girlfriend and family in Zimbabwe, and I feel like I have come back into pre-season with Worcester with a real spring in my step.
“I am really enjoying pre-season, you don’t often hear players say that, and everyone has made me feel very welcome and I just can’t wait for the season to come around.”
There are a few familiar faces at Worcester for Denton with Simon Cross, a former Edinburgh colleague, on the coaching panel and fellow Scotland cap Tom Heathcote and his childhood friend Marco Mama in the first-team squad.
He is also living in Cheltenham a few doors down from good friend and Scotland centre Matt Scott.
Worcester’s first pre-season match is against Hartpury on 12 August and from that moment on Denton will have about two and a half months to impress Scotland coaches Gregor Townsend, Dan McFarland and Matt Taylor before the Autumn Tests. “First and foremost I just want to get back to enjoying my rugby, playing regularly for Worcester and making an impact for them, but of course Scotland is on my mind because I love playing for my country,” the man with 35 caps said.
“Running out at BT Murrayfield for a big international is a special feeling and it was strange watching the guys play in the Six Nations and on the summer tour without me.
“My lack of rugby towards the end of last season cost me in terms of the summer tour, but Gregor and Matt have been great at keeping in touch and letting me know I am still in their thoughts. It is now up to me to prove that I deserve to get back to that level.”