THE value of national teams’ summer tours is often called into question given rugby’s crowded calendar, but Nick Grigg, for one, is wholly convinced of their worth. This time last year, the New Zealand-born centre had just completed his first full season with Glasgow, and was perhaps viewed as a bit of a makeweight in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad that set off for Australia and Fiji. But he gave ample evidence of his ability on making his debut against the Fijians, and now has a burgeoning reputation as a wily and dependable competitor in midfield.

The narrow defeat in Suva was a baptism of fire for the diminutive Grigg, who invariably concedes a lot of height and weight to most opponents but looked especially challenged both vertically and pound-wise when up against the Pacific Islanders. Yet he acquitted himself well, showing the sort of reliability in defence and attack that went on to win him three more caps in this year’s Six Nations Championship.

“Fiji was quite an introduction to Test rugby,” the 25-year-old said, shortly before flying out to Vancouver as part of the tour party that will take on Canada, the United States and Argentina over the next three Saturdays. “They’re massive boys. Every single player on that team was much bigger than me, but at the end of the day, if you’re using the right technique it’s not too bad.

“I don’t really think about it in terms of how big the guy is. I just think about what he brings to the table and what I can bring to the table. It comes down to game day. If you’re prepared and up for the game, and you play smart, you’re going to win.

“Last year’s summer tour was my first involvement with Scotland. It was really exciting going to those countries with the prospect of getting my first cap.

“The game against Fiji itself didn’t go as well, but I was still really proud and excited to play for Scotland and that hasn’t changed. I’m on four caps now leading into this tour, and it’s just as exciting. It’s a brand new tour, I’ve never been to any of these countries before, so hopefully I can make a mark.

“These summer tours are really good because they give people opportunities to show how well they can play in the Scotland environment. It’s really good for new, up-and-coming younger players to prove themselves and put their best foot forward for the World Cup.”

Grigg has certainly done that since arriving several years ago as no more than a promising club player, at a time when representing the land of his grandfather’s birth was little more than a pipe dream.

“When I first came over, playing for Scotland wasn’t really on my radar,” he said. “There were a couple of emails back and forth between me and my dad saying ‘You better practise the anthem’ and stuff, but I wasn’t really expecting it to happen.

I guess taking my opportunities and working hard to get there has helped. It’s just been an amazing journey.”