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Alex Dunbar determined to make an impact on his return to the Scotland squad

Published 08/03/2016

Scotland centre Alex Dunbar feels he is back to his best
Scotland centre Alex Dunbar feels he is back to his best

Alex Dunbar is confident he can make an impact on his international comeback after spending a year out of the Scotland set-up.

Dunbar missed the World Cup after suffering a torn cruciate ligament in training on the eve of last year's Calcutta Cup clash, before a thigh injury saw him miss the first three matches of this year's RBS 6 Nations.

But the centre has started Glasgow's last two matches and is back in the Scotland squad ahead of Sunday's Murrayfield meeting with France.

With Scotland awaiting results from tests on Matt Scott's elbow injury, Dunbar provides competition for Duncan Taylor and Mark Bennett in midfield.

The 25-year-old said: " Certainly the couple of games I have played for Glasgow, I've done all right. I still need to keep working week to week but I feel good just now and I feel fresh. If I get a chance I would jump at it.

"It's good to still be thought of. It's a case of letting the rugby do the talking, going out there and showing what I can do and hopefully helping the team get a victory."

Dunbar pushed hard to make the World Cup squad but it was always a tall order and his subsequent comeback has been derailed by lesser injuries as his body readjusts to playing rugby.

"It's been frustrating that you do all the hard work, come back to fitness, then play a game and you feel good, then play the next game and pick up something that pretty much means you can't lace the boots up for two weeks," he said.

"It's just been frustrating, stop-start, but I feel good just now. I have done quite a bit of conditioning work and I feel good going into the last two games. Hopefully it lasts.

"I feel like I'm also back to the level where I was at. It's just a case of getting back in and playing regularly and enjoying it.

"It feels good to be back in the set-up, it's been been a while since I've been involved. It's good to get back into it and see some familiar faces."

Dunbar rejoined a happy camp, boosted by their first Six Nations win in 10 games, against Italy in Rome on February 27.

"There's a good buzz about the squad, the boys are laughing and joking," he said. "It's all pretty positive, we just have to knuckle down this week and look at France.

"Things are a little bit more relaxed. We know as a squad we have not been far off getting wins, it's just been little mistakes and little bits of inaccuracy that have been costing us. It takes the pressure off.

"We know at times we showed when we put things together through phases that we can score, it's just a case of doing that on a more regular basis."

Nathan Hines, Scotland's resource coach, feels there is still as much pressure on the squad to win their latest game despite ending their losing streak, especially with a home crowd to please.

"We don't have you guys pestering us about losing nine on the bounce," Hines told a media conference. "But the most important thing for us is backing it up. Most of the guys after the game were already looking forward to this weekend.

"The pressure for us is to win the game, the pressure for us two weeks ago was to win the game. For us it's the same thing."

Meanwhile, Hines could not shed any light on the omission of Blair Cowan and Sean Maitland from the squad to face France. The pair missed the Italy game but played for London Irish a day later.

He said: "To be honest I have no idea. I don't know what the situation is, I don't know why they were playing, I don't know if they were available.

"If I'm not in the loop, I can't talk about it."

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