WHEN Nick Grigg reflects on 2017 and his transformation from pro-team hopeful to Scotland international, the Italian city of Parma will forever hold a special place in his heart.

It was there, on what was only his second start for Glasgow Warriors, that he really announced himself as one to watch with an exhibition of attacking play. It made him the only realistic candidate for the man-of-the-match award as his side held off a Zebre fightback to win 33-28.

“Fingers crossed, I can put in the same kind of performance that I 
did last year,” he said as the team prepare to head back to the same ground tomorrow. “I know Zebre have a much better squad this year; they know how to attack and are good on defence. We’re not taking them for granted. I was quite new to the squad last year, but I don’t ever take any side lightly. It was just one of those days when I felt really good. I warmed up well and I was raring to go.”

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It was the start of a dream season. Another 11 starts plus a couple more runs from the bench earned him a place on Scotland’s summer tour and a debut cap against Fiji.

He held on to his place in the wider training squad for the November Tests but has yet to add to his cap and knows the next few games are vital if he is to avoid the tag of a one-cap wonder.

“I’ve got to perform over the next few weeks,” he said. “I’ve been trying hard, so fingers crossed I can get a foot in the door again. “I was in the [November] training camp and training every week leading up to the games, but didn’t get the opportunity to play. I was really looking forward to perhaps getting a shot against New Zealand [where he was born], because that would have been a chance to make a statement, but it didn’t happen. I do want to get another cap.”

Part of the difficulty, he accepts, is that every week he is facing intense competition just to get into the club team and when it comes to Scotland stuff, with Mark Bennett and Duncan Taylor back in the running after missing November, the competition is even steeper.

When he did run out for Glasgow, it meant Huw Jones, who missed the summer but brought his Scotland scoring streak up to seven tries in 11 games when he was recalled in November, had to miss out.

He can take some satisfaction, though, from being on the winning side against Edinburgh while his rival had been there when they lost in Murrayfield.

“You’ve got to look at it in a positive way,” was Grigg’s analysis of the two games. “The best way to put it is that we needed that [defeat] to put us back on track and realise we are not undefeatable, and need to keep improving.”