Edinburgh’s Jamie Bhattti determined to return to Scotland squad

Jamie Bhatti is focused on dislodging Pierre Schoeman as Edinburgh's preferred loosehead prop.  Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS
Jamie Bhatti is focused on dislodging Pierre Schoeman as Edinburgh's preferred loosehead prop. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS
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The post mortem into Scotland’s World Cup exit may have only just started, but one player who missed out on travelling to the showpiece event in Japan has already begun to think about the 2020 Six Nations with Jamie Bhatti determined to be back in dark blue by then.

The 26-year-old, 15-times capped loosehead prop has had a strange few months, that is for sure.

In May he was starting for Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness Pro14 final at Celtic Park against Leinster before leaving the club and joining up with the extended Scotland squad to build up to the World Cup.

After the third summer warm-up game against Georgia, Bhatti was among a group of players informed by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend that they would not be needed for the big tournament.

Townsend and his forwards coach Danny Wilson preferred to take Allan Dell and Gordon Reid to Asia to battle it out for the No 1 jersey, leaving Bhatti to gather his thoughts, take a swift break and then join his new club Edinburgh Rugby.

His most immediate battle – as the capital club prepare for a home Pro14 match with the Scarlets on Saturday – is to try to dislodge South African Pierre Schoeman as head coach Richard Cockerill’s number one No 1.

Bhatti, pictured right, who has made three appearances off the bench for his new charges to date, knows that will be tricky, but he is a focused individual and also has the Six Nations next February and March on his radar.

“I phoned Richard [Cockerill] after missing out on going to Japan and he told me to take the week off and then come back in the following Monday refreshed,” Bhatti reveals about his summer of ups and downs.

“I did get away from it all, I went to Mallorca just to get some sun and relax and then it helped coming in here to a new environment rather than dwelling on it.

“Coming into Edinburgh, well it was an easy transition. I spoke to the coaches and the S & C [strength and conditioning] staff and found out what they wanted from me and then I got my head down, got stuck in and got to work.

“It is a great environment here at Edinburgh, I knew most of the boys already. I have just been fully focusing on Edinburgh, I need to get game time here first so that I am heading into the Six Nations on form. “I want to push to be back in the Scotland squad and I want to have the No 1 shirt too, so I have to work on my fitness and be as strong as possible.”

Edinburgh go into the Pool B clash with table-topping Scarlets after a mixed start to the season.

They won their first two games, but were then humbled 40-14 at Leinster in week three before a fallow week.

“We started really well against Zebre and Cardiff, particularly in Cardiff which is a tough place to go, but we got the win,” Bhatti stated.

“Against Leinster, I wouldn’t say we played badly, but Leinster are a good team and if you give them a sniff that is what they will do, they will put 40 points on you in the blink of an eye.

“In the three games we have played well in the forward pack, the set piece has been good and the backs have been playing some good rugby, but there is still plenty to work on.

“We now have 13 games on the trot [in the league and Europe] so that will be tough and there is plenty of time to get things right.”

Edinburgh Rugby v Scarlets, Saturday, BT Murrayfield,

7:35pm Premier Sports