Scotland back-row Dave Denton is adamant his focus remains on the November Tests – despite talk of a club switch to Leicester.
Scotland back-row Dave Denton is adamant his focus remains on the November Tests – despite talk of a club switch to Leicester Tigers.
The Edinburgh powerhouse has been linked with a move to the Welford Road side when his contract with the capital outfit runs out at the end of the season.
But Denton is keen to stress he has eyes only for the navy blue jersey as Scotland kick off their campaign at Murrayfield on Saturday against Japan.
Having struggled through injury and loss of form last season, representing his country again is an opportunity the breakaway is relishing.
“It's awesome just to be playing again. Last season was tough because I didn't get a run of games at any stage,” Denton told the Daily Record.
“It was a very frustrating time because every time I felt I was coming back to form I had to take weeks, – or even a couple of months – off.
“Things have been so different this season because I've had nine matches in a row for Edinburgh. It's great to be back doing what I do.
“I have had no interest in being rested because I hadn't played a lot of rugby.”
Denton waved away the speculation on his club future, and the Tigers rumours.
“It's a compliment but at the moment I've got my mind firmly set on these Tests and the job in hand,” added Denton.
Having impressed for Edinburgh in the opening rounds of the PRO12 and Heineken Cup, the back-row is keen to transfer his domestic form to the Test arena.
“New coach Alan Solomons has been putting a massive emphasis on me doing a lot more around the field,” acknowledged Denton.
“I think I need to use my size and athleticism in as many ways as I can.
“I'm trying to make as big an impact in defence as I make in attack, and in particular at the breakdown.
“For Scotland and Edinburgh, the breakdown is massively important to the way we want to play, so that's an area I need to be very good at.”
And Denton believes Scotland are well-placed to make an impact this month, beginning with the visit of the Cherry Blossoms on Saturday.
“We are in a good place – we have a lot of guys who are fit, unlike the summer tour in South Africa. It's a nice luxury for Scott Johnson to have a wide base to pick from and potentially spread the experience about in the build-up to the World Cup,” stated Denton.
“Japan are going to be a very tough team to play against.
“We're going to have to stick to our systems to make sure we put them away.
“Johnno reckons we're going to run more in this game than in any other this season.
“Japan play a very high-tempo game and they play from anywhere as well.
“That's a massive contrast to most other Test nations who don't like to play in their own half. But we have the ammunition in our team to get through it.”