Steve McColl is geared up to grasp his chance at Gloucester Rugby with both hands when they take on Newcastle Falcons this Friday.
McColl earned a big reputation in English rugby’s second-tier before the switch, named in last season’s Championship team of the year and widely hailed as the best full-back outside of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
But the Scot remains grounded and believes his hard work and progression as a player is what has opened the door for him at Kingsholm.
“It’s obviously a great feeling to be starting this weekend,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to my opportunity and I’ll be trying my best to take it.
“Getting a run in the LV= Cup was really good for me. They were two great games against strong sides and I really enjoyed it.
“Possibly it helped me get into the side for this weekend. I feel like I played well in the two games and the coaches have seen my progress from when I started in the summer.
“Playing in the Premiership has been great since I made the step up. I get on really well with the lads and there is a great atmosphere at the club.
“My family have come down and settled in now, so to be getting a few games under my belt as well is brilliant. I’m really enjoying it here.”
McColl’s first appearance for Gloucester came in the season-opening 53-6 mauling at the hands of Northampton Saints, where he got 17 minutes as a replacement.
But with two strong performances in the LV= Cup and now his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start, McColl is hoping he can edge out fellow Championship graduate Rob Cook for a permanent spot in the side.
He said: “The step up from the Championship is huge. The main difference is the pace of the game at this level as there are not as many stoppages as there are in that league.
“The lifestyle is not too different as a lot of the teams are professional in the Championship now, but on the pitch it is.
“Getting my first game as a replacement was massive for me – maybe not the ideal game to start out with but when I got the nod that I was going on I did not know what to think.
“It was just the case of getting the cap on and getting out there, and the atmosphere was amazing for me as I’m not used to playing in front of a crowd like that.
“Now I’ve got the first start under my belt I’d definitely like to get a run in the side. It’s a great opportunity for me, they don’t come around too often and I’ve got to show I’m capable of keeping my place.”
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