Chris Paterson out to prove his centenary laurels are no career resting place

TEN weeks on from winning his 100th cap, Chris Paterson can at last have serious thoughts about winning a 101st. Scotland's summer tour to Argentina may come too soon, but he is determined that sooner or later he will add to that tally.

The milestone occasion came in mid-February when Paterson played for Scotland against Wales in Cardiff. But what began as a celebration turned into one of the most worrying afternoons in the history of the national team, when Thom Evans and Paterson both ended up in hospital with serious injuries.

Evans' life was at risk, and it is still uncertain whether he will resume his career. Paterson is more fortunate in as much as he is now close to completing his recovery from kidney damage, but at the time there was a real fear that his 100th cap might also be his last.

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"There was definitely a doubt I would play again," the Edinburgh back said. "It was touch and go whether it (his kidney] would have to come out by the time I got to the hospital on the Saturday.

"And I think if you lost a kidney at 32 – I'm 32 now, I was 31 at the time . . . You can function perfectly well with one kidney, a lot of people do, a lot of professional players do, but losing one at that time would be difficult.

"Most people in sport who have lost one probably did so as a child. Losing one right bang in the middle would take longer to recover.

"So there was doubt, yeah, but my first night in hospital went as well as could be expected. There was no surgery required, and the healing process started then."

The full recovery schedule was set at 12 weeks. He began with two weeks of bed rest, and for another six weeks after that did "as good as nothing", but is now back in training. All being well, in another fortnight he will resume contact training.

That timetable means no further games for Edinburgh this season, but the pre-tour warm-up match against Japan is a possibility for a run-out, and then come the cap internationals against the Pumas. Everything is dependent on medical advice, but if he is given the go-ahead by the doctors, and selected by the coaching staff, Paterson would love to be there.

"Yeah, I'd love to. I need to get fit first, but I want to get back playing. If there was a chance, of course, I'd love to," he said.

"I'd like to be back playing as quick as I can. That's my job. But I've got to be sensible about it and I'll be guided by the medical staff and by the tests. Last week and this week is the best I've felt. When you start training at first you feel a bit shaky, a bit woozy. My body has taken a bit of a dunt, to be honest."

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Besides the fact of wanting to return to work, Paterson also wants to quash any possibility that the Cardiff milestone will mark the end of his international career.

"If there was ever a burning desire in me it's to get off 100 as quick as I can. It was a goal of mine, I wanted to achieve it, now I want to get off it as quickly as I can."

The injury Paterson suffered was the result of unusual circumstances, and he does not fear a repeat when he returns to the game.

"I lost my footing. It was a freak set of events. I was a wee bit exposed, and somebody's knee just caught me in that three-or-four-inch gap between your ribs and your hip.

"Usually if you get a sore one it does ease, but it was getting worse and worse. It was only when I got to hospital I realised the severity of it.

"It was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. I don't want to be melodramatic, but it was hell. You look at the number of contacts I've had in 12 years of professional rugby, 20 years of playing rugby and 20 years of training, the chances of it happening again are pretty small. It could happen again, of course it could, but the chances of that series of events happening again are very slim."

The chances of Paterson playing for Scotland again, on the other hand, are getting better by the day.

• Chris Paterson was talking at the launch of the Scott's Porage Oats limited-edition tin range.