WHEN he started for Scotland in their World Cup warm-up match against Italy two years ago, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s career looked set to go from strength to strength, but his progress has been interrupted since.

Having established himself as Edinburgh’s first-choice scrum-half, his absence from the club during the World Cup allowed rivals Sean Kennedy and Nathan Fowles to promote their cases for selection at a time of uncertainty behind the scenes at the club.

Hidalgo-Clyne’s stock remained sufficiently high that when Greig Laidlaw received a call to join the British & Irish Lions last summer, he was initially chosen to accompany Glasgow Warriors Henry Pyrgos and Ali Price on Scotland’s tour to Fiji and Australia before a hamstring injury forced him to drop out.

“Even though I was involved in the summer tour, I wasn’t picked for the camp recently in St Andrews, so for me it’s about working hard and whether or not they want Greig to keep playing I don’t know,” said Hidalgo-Clyne.

It is telling that Hidalgo-Clyne’s solitary Test start is also his only experience of having been on a winning side in nine appearances, underlining the benefit of the apparent change of tone in terms of emphasis on winning matches that is being driven by Richard Cockerill, his new coach at Edinburgh and Dave Rennie at Glasgow Warriors. That was brought home last weekend when Cockerill praised his players for a bonus-point win over the Dragons, but also made it clear that he expects much better from them.

“Last year we’d probably have taken that and been happy with that,” said Hidalgo-Clyne.

“Two from two and nine out of 10 points is not a bad start at all,” he added.