For Dave Cherry, a substitute appearance in last year's historic Calcutta Cup triumph was the realisation of a dream to represent his country, something he thought he would be satisfied doing just once after such a long wait.
But having earned that first cap at the age of 30, the Edinburgh hooker quickly realised he wanted more. His tally now stands at five after appearing in all 2021 Six Nations fixtures, and scoring three tries.
Cherry didn't play in the Autumn tests despite being called up to the squad, but after agreeing a new contract extension with Edinburgh on Thursday, he is prepared to fight for his place at both club and country.
George Turner, Stuart McInally, Ewan Ashman and Fraser Brown are all vying to be Gregor Townsend's first pick at hooker, with McInally also providing strong competition at Edinburgh.
It is a challenge he is willing to embrace as he looks to notch up further international honours.
“Obviously I’d like to be involved and play again," Cherry said. "But there’s a lot of competition so I’m just focusing on myself and the games at Edinburgh. Hopefully I can make selection hard for the international coaches.
“I remember speaking to Simon Berghan when I joined Edinburgh and told him that all I wanted was one cap. And he said when you get one cap, you want more. And he’s absolutely right. I want to play as many times for my country as I can. Last year has certainly whetted my appetite for more.
“I think hope is the right way to go. If you expect something then you’re setting yourself up for a bit of failure. You just hope you’re in and if you are it’s great news.”
Cherry’s Scotland ambitions rest on him continuing to perform at the top of his game at club level, something he has been doing to help Edinburgh to an impressive start to the campaign in both the URC and Challenge Cup.
“I think my performances have been fairly good of late," he said. "We’ve also got a lot of competition in the hooking department now. But I just want to have the starting jersey as often as I can. If you’re not in the team, you want to be pushing the boys who are playing as much as you can. The culture at the club is great and that’s driving the standards of each and every player in the squad.”
Covid issues have stalled momentum somewhat following the cancellation of the 1872 Cup fixtures against Glasgow, but Cherry is keen to pick up where he left off when Cardiff visit the DAM Health Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s frustrating for players but also for fans. We’re so far into this pandemic that people now expect things like this to happen. It’s frustrating as we’ve had a good run of form, especially the Saracens game, and were looking to take that into the Glasgow games. But it’s out of our control and we just have to get on with it.
“It’s hard as playing regularly is absolutely key to good performances. But we’re training well as a squad and hopefully when our next game happens we’ll perform well.”