IT takes a lot to be seen as the voice of age and experience at just 28, but that is exactly where David Denton found himself in the weekend win over Canada. With the emphasis on this tour being on youth, his 40th cap marked him out as the man expected to use his hard-won knowhow to lead the youngsters such as 21-year-old Jamie Ritche.

After all, once Fraser Brown, who is eight months older than Denton, went off he was not only the most capped member of the team but also the oldest forward. A far cry from the days of grizzled 30-something-year-olds imparting their knowledge.

He sees it as helpful, having got a close-up and personal view of Ritchie, the youngest of the forwards, making his debut in a vibrant young back row. Don’t forget the unit that did so well against Canada will have to face competition from the Six Nations trio, John Barclay, Hamish Watson and Ryan Wilson when the squad reassembles in November.

“It’s awesome, a great crew of young guys coming through,” Denton says. “It’s actually brilliant to watch them; the make-up of the tour is different because of them.

“Because there are senior guys who aren’t here, they’re coming out of their shell a lot more than in the Six Nations or Autumn Tests. That helps massively when they go on the pitch. Look at Lewis Carmichael, he was absolutely brilliant. I try my best to watch as many Edinburgh games as I can and every time I have seen him play he has been awesome.

“When I came in, I was very much on my own. I remember my first squad, myself and Rob Harley were there together and Andy Robinson [then the head coach] banned us from being together. Classic Robbo – he literally wouldn’t let us talk to each other because we were each other’s safety net. Everyone else was four or five years older than us.”

Now he is in a position to savour the skills Ritchie brings to the game while remembering that Magnus Bradbury, the other back row, is only a year older than his Edinburgh team-mate. Carmichael, who earned so much praise, not just from Denton but from the coaches as well, is 23 – though he came on at lock, he can also be a back row option. Matt Fagerson, the youngest of the lot at 19, was one of the Glasgow contingent who will get game time this week against the USA.

While it was all new to them, it was almost like a fresh start for Denton too. He has not started a Test in more than two years and this was only his third start since the last World Cup –testament to his injury issues more than anything.

“I can’t even describe that feeling of being injured or being just back from injured, being at home on the couch watching the Six Nations or the autumn Tests. It leaves such a sour taste in your mouth because you want to be there more than anything,” he recalled.

“When you’re younger, you don’t think about it, you just go from game to game. I can’t believe I have played 40 games, it doesn’t feel like it. That period from 20 to 25 I hardly blinked, but now you really do appreciate every one.

“The challenge for me is to keep that edge. If I do start playing more regularly, I still need to keep myself in that frame of mind

“This season was massive for me. It was pretty much two years injured. The first one was a six-month injury and that destabilises your whole body so I kept picking up niggle after niggle after niggle.

“I played 25-odd games this season and that’s allowed me to get back to the situation I’m now in, to play for Scotland again, to sign a three year deal with Leicester – to do all these things.”

After wining the man of the match award, he was certainly in a good place, but also can see the next generation coming up fast and gunning for spots in the next World Cup.

Ritchie is one of those leading that charge. “I was involved in the autumn and didn’t get a run, missed out on the Six Nations. I was glad to get the call for summer and was pretty confident that I’d get a cap out here. I really enjoyed it,” he said.

“It’s one of those things when you’re young, you always want to do it. Then, when you get a bit older, you think it will probably be quite difficult to get there. Obviously getting picked and playing for Edinburgh and feeling like you get a good run of games, you always keep it in the back of your head like ‘maybe I’ll be in with a shout’.

“For me, it’s putting my best foot forward every time I get a chance to play, whether it’s for Edinburgh or Scotland, any time I take the field. If I can put myself in the best possible position to be up for selection, then that’s what I’m going to do.”