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David Denton buoyant ahead of Scotland clash with England

The number eight is determined to drive the Dark Blues to their first Calcutta Cup win in a decade.

Scotland’s David Denton returned to international action against France earlier this month
Scotland’s David Denton returned to international action against France earlier this month

David Denton hopes to cap off a dream month by providing the muscle that pounds Scotland to victory over England.

The 28-year-old Worcester forward is back in the Dark Blues fold after 18 injury-hit months in the international wilderness.

His return two weeks ago against France – when he climbed off the bench to provide the extra oomph Gregor Townsend’s side needed to kick-start their NatWest 6 Nations bid with a 32-26 Murrayfield win – was quickly followed by news that the former Edinburgh number eight had agreed a deal to join Leicester next season.

Now the big ball-carrier wants to make it a hat-trick of personal triumphs by helping Scotland claim their first Calcutta Cup win in a decade when they host the English on Saturday.

“It’s very exciting,” said Denton. “When you’re injured, you’re not sure what your future will be or what clubs you’ll be at.

“So the opportunity for me to go to Leicester and sign a three-year deal was big for me. I can settle down with the club and really dig my roots in.

“It’s been a great month and I’m grateful. I learned how quickly things can change in professional sport.

“All of a sudden, you’ve been injured for a bit and out of favour with the national team, I wasn’t sure what I was doing club-wise – and then for me to get a run of games together, get back playing for Scotland and then sign a long-term deal with a huge club like Leicester was great.

“Now beating England would definitely add to it. That would be amazing.”

Denton’s ability to smash through the gain-line made him a favourite of former head coach Vern Cotter.

But long-standing hamstring and hip injuries rendered him a bystander as the Kiwi closed out his reign last year before being replaced by Townsend in the summer.

With the former Glasgow boss eager to inject fresh blood into his squad, Denton admits he feared his time was up with Scotland.

Denton was a regular pick under former boss Vern Cotter but admits he feared for his Scotland future after injury ruled him out for 18 months

But now he has been given a second chance, he is determined to make the most of it.

He said: “It’s an awesome feeling to be back in a Scotland jersey. My time out was hard. I was moving from injury to injury, which is frustrating.

“Any time you pick up an injury, you’re giving somebody else an opportunity in your jersey. I was sat back watching Scotland thinking, ‘Am I going to get back in?’.

“My main focus for the time being is my own performance on the pitch. I’m not going to concern myself with too much trying to influence other people’s performances or be a leader. You sort your own ship out before you try and sort everyone else’s.”

Gregor Townsend took over as Scotland head coach last summer

Denton was left to watch last year’s meeting with the Auld Enemy through the cracks in his fingers as Eddie Jones’ juggernaut trampled over the Scots with a 61-21 drubbing.

He may not have been participating that day but his desire to put that result right is strong.

“I watched the game at an English mate’s house,” he recalled. “I left pretty quickly after the game.

Scotland’s Huw Jones looks dejected after last year's brutal Twickenham defeat

“We were a much better team than that result showed last year. That was a tough one and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“Do we have to play better than we’ve ever managed before to win on Saturday? No, not necessarily. But we’ll have to be above 95 per cent at least I’d say.”

Press Association


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