Edinburgh centre Matt Scott seeing fruits of summer fitness programme

Edinburgh Rugby fans can expect to see a new and improved, slimline version of Matt Scott this season – and the player cannot wait for 2019/20 to start.

Edinburgh's Matt Scott, right, and Simon Hickey are pictured as global law firm Dentons extend their sponsorship with the club at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Bruce White/SNS/SRU

The 28-year-old centre returned for a second stint with the capital club last summer after a spell at Gloucester, but a concussion issue kept him out from October to March and made his season very stop-start.

He played his part in the last few games of the campaign, but he did not feel his usual energetic self.

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The man who played for Scotland in the 2015 World Cup was left scratching his head as to why that was the case, but he then realised that he was too heavy to play the kind of rugby he had become known for over the years.

As a result he has been working hard over the summer, and fans can expect to get a glimpse of the slimmed-down Scott at BT Murrayfield this Saturday (2pm), when Edinburgh take on London Scottish in their first pre-season friendly.

“I finished the end of last season and I had put on a lot of size,” Scott, speaking as it was announced that Dentons are to continue as the club’s official legal partner until at least 2022, explained.

“When I had been injured I had done a lot of gym sessions and I hadn’t realised it myself, but I was far too heavy and I finished the season at 110 kilos.

“I said in my end-of-season review [with the coaches] that I wanted to come back after the summer and almost reinvent myself in terms of the style I’ll be playing.

“When I was that heavy I wasn’t playing to my strengths, I was running over people rather than making outside breaks.

“I set a target of being 103 kilos by the end of pre-season, I came back in at [the start of pre-season] 105 kilos, but over the last month or so I have got down to 102 or 103 and I feel so much better.

“I feel like I have so much more energy.

“My programme has now changed drastically, I am doing far less weights than the rest of the guys and more conditioning stuff and I am starting to see the fruits of it.

“You have to find the playing weight that suits you, heavier is not always better
and I went over the cusp of being effective. I couldn’t repeat sets, I couldn’t run support lines, I couldn’t get to 
things quick enough because I was so heavy. I have learned this is going to be a good weight for me. I have always played my best rugby under 105 kilos.

“I am ready for matches now, I have been smashing all my previous best running times and shed a few kilos and I just feel lighter and a lot more mobile so I am excited for the games to come.”

Meanwhile, Scott knows from previous experience what it feels like to be one of the World Cup hopefuls waiting for a call to tell you that you have made the final squad.

And he knows the players in Gregor Townsend’s extended Scotland group will be nervous right now until the 3 September announcement of the 31 heading to Japan.

“It’s weird, even if you think you’ve got a good chance of going, there is still a niggling thought in your head [that you might not go],” he recounts about his own 2015 wait.

“I remember where I was when I was called to say I was in the squad and it was an awesome moment.

“Even the guys who you think are nailed down, it will all depend on what Gregor is thinking and how he wants to split the squad to make sure he has covered for every eventuality.”