Ton-up Chris Paterson says he isn't done just yet

CHRIS Paterson had a long and trying wait between his 100th and 101st caps, and has no intention of waiting anything like as long before turning out for Scotland again.

The 32-year-old Edinburgh back brought up the ton against Wales earlier this year, and was hospitalised with a lacerated kidney in a match which also saw Thom Evans seriously injured. After a lengthy recuperation, Paterson's appearance as a substitute in the win against South Africa last month might have been viewed in some quarters as little more than an encore from a player approaching the end of his days as an international but he has every intention of winning back a regular place and becoming the first Scotland player to turn out in four World Cups.

"I had three months, which I needed to get back on my feet, and then I had another three-month spell of intense training, which, at this time in my career, was brilliant for me," Paterson said of his time recovering from that kidney injury.

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Referring to Scotland's recent successes, which have included victories over Ireland, Argentina (twice), the Springboks and Samoa, Paterson added: "I'm more determined than ever to get back involved and I've been bitterly disappointed not to be part of a successful run.

"I was delighted to get on the field, and get off the 100-cap mark, against South Africa. The support when I came off the bench was mind-blowing.

"It was such a huge honour, and almost an embarrassment, to receive that, because I played ten minutes or whatever it was and I didn't feel I did enough.

"The New Zealand game was the first time, barring injury, that I'd never been in the 22 in over 100 Tests. So I've been lucky, hugely lucky, but the attitude never changes. I'm there to improve. Whether I'm in the 22, in the 15, or not, I'm there to get better."

Paterson was a rookie professional when he played in the 1999 World Cup but was one of the most important members of the Scotland squad in the tournaments four and eight years later. He retains high hopes of having the same status next year but is aware that, the better the team becomes, the harder it will be for him to realise those hopes.

"The six-month break gave my body a rest and put me in good stead for what's going to be a massive season. The guys in possession are doing well and winning games, so it's a tough challenge. The World Cup is a massive target. To play in four World Cups is one of the goals I'd like to achieve.

And Paterson reckons that Scotland can improve much further before the event in New Zealand. He added: "We're getting these good results but we can play so much better. There are mistakes that are happening that we know we can iron out. To be consistent leading into the World Cup is the first thing.The second thing is delivering at the World Cup."

Paterson was speaking at yesterday's launch of the sponsorship agreement between Scottish Rugby and the Royal Bank of Scotland at North Berwick Rugby Club, where he and fellow international Allan Jacobsen helped repaint the clubhouse as part of the bank's Rugby Force programme. Having worked on previous Rugby Force ventures, including at Marr Rugby Club in Troon, Paterson believes that the involvement of players and public, through Rugby Force and other ventures which RBS will implement with its customers and Barnardo's Scotland, can help bridge a gap in the game since the start of the professional era.

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Paterson said: "There were a number of stars actually playing for Gala when I joined, but these days you don't get professionals routinely turning out for their clubs. When I helped out at Marr with (former Scotland captain] Andy Nicol it did feel like the kind of community day I used to know at Gala."