Six Nations 2018: David Denton revels in Scotland return before England clash

David Denton runs with the ball for Scotland as France duo Remi Lamerat and Cedate Gomes Sa try to tackle him
Denton won his 36th cap in Scotland's recent win over France
Six Nations 2018: Scotland v England
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland. Live text commentary and report on the BBC website and app.

Scotland back-row David Denton says it is "awesome" to be back in the fold as he feared his Test days may be over.

The powerful number eight came off the bench to help Scotland beat France in their last Six Nations outing.

It was Denton's first cap since the summer of 2016, with injuries and loss of form resulting in a lengthy absence.

"Being away for so long, being able to get out there and my first game back being at Murrayfield made it all the more special," Denton said.

"It's an awesome feeling. I don't think I've ever taken it for granted, but when you're younger it feels like it's just something that's meant to happen and you don't really think about it."

The former Edinburgh forward, 28, admits that during his injury struggles of the past two seasons he began to question if he would ever pull on the Scotland jersey again.

"Any time you pick up an injury or come out of a squad, you're giving somebody else an opportunity in the jersey that you were in," he explained. "It's always a worry for any player.

"When I was sat back watching Scotland play games, you do think, 'am I going to get back in? Am I going to get an opportunity?'. You can't think about it too much. Just keep your head down, keep working and what will happen will happen.

"I've been doing the work over the last two years. It's not like I've been sitting in a cave doing nothing. I feel like I've come out of this period a much better rugby player than I was before.

David Denton scores a try for Worcester against Harlequins this season
Denton has scored five tries in 15 games for Worcester this season

"Before the game [against France], I knew I was ready to play Test match rugby again, it was just a matter of getting out there and doing it."

The Worcester back-row is expected to play a key role, either from the start or as an impact replacement, when Six Nations champions England visit Murrayfield on Saturday.

Denton was not involved in the countries' last meeting, a 61-21 hiding for Scotland at Twickenham last year. Despite being seemingly discarded by then national coach Vern Cotter, he took no joy in watching the Scots being annihilated.

"A lot of the guys who played in that game were my mates," Denton explained.

Scotland v England in Six Nations - last 10 years
2017: England 61-21 Scotland2012: Scotland 6-13 England
2016: Scotland 9-15 England2011: England 22-16 Scotland
2015: England 25-13 Scotland2010: Scotland 15-15 England
2014: Scotland 0-20 England2009: England 26-12 Scotland
2013: England 38-18 Scotland2008: Scotland 15-9 England

"You don't want to see them going through what they did that day. We were a much better team than that result showed last year.

"We went on to win the next game [against Italy] and it's a testament to the character in the squad. That was a tough one. We need to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Denton will be playing his club rugby with Leicester Tigers next season, and hopes he has found a club for the long term after injury-plagued spells with Bath and Worcester.

"It's very exciting," he added. "When you're not playing very much when you're injured, you're not really sure what your future's going to be, what club you're going to be at.

"Signing a three-year deal was big for me, I can settle down at the club and dig my roots in.

"It's been a great month. I did learn how quickly things can change in professional sport and it did for me.

"All of a sudden you've been injured for a bit, you're out of favour with the national team, I wasn't sure what I was doing club-wise. Then to be able to get a run of games together, get back playing for Scotland and a sign a long-term deal with a huge club like Leicester is great."

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