After an injury-ravaged couple of years, Cam Redpath has a keener appreciation than most of his contemporaries as to just how valuable a clean bill of health is for a professional rugby player – and he has certainly enjoyed stringing a run of games together with Bath this season.

Now the 23-year-old is looking forward to making up for lost time with Scotland during this Six Nations, by throwing off the shackles and playing with more freedom than he is permitted at club level – although he recognises that selection for the national team is far from a foregone conclusion.

“I would love to have a good Six Nations but as we know, there’s a lot of competition,” he said. “So, I’ve got to work on things that I maybe haven’t done as much of this season.

“I’ve been a lot more defensive, especially in the last few weeks just because of the way we have played, but I believe I still have a lot to offer in terms of good attacking contributions, so hopefully being up here with Scotland we throw the ball about a lot more than being back at Bath.

“That’s not saying that it’s the wrong thing to do back in Bath,” he added, perhaps concerned about upsetting his club coach, Johann van Graan. “It is a different league and a different competition so it’s something that’s a different way of playing. But I’m looking forward to seeing how my attributes can fit in here. Hopefully that can work for me, and I can throw the ball about a bit more.”

Redpath is competing against 2021 Lion Chris Harris, as well as the in-form Glasgow Warriors trio of Sione Tuipulota, Huw Jones and Stafford McDowall for selection in the Scotland midfield, but his view is that you have to challenge yourself against the best to become the best.

“It’ll push us all on and hopefully it’ll all make us all better,” he said.

If selected, Redpath will be returning to the scene of his dream Scotland debut on Saturday week, having played a key role in the team’s famous 2021 victory at Twickenham – their first win at that venue since 1983.

“That first cap was a bit weird with no fans in the ground, but, overall, it was a great day and a great memory that I will never forget,” he recalled. “I’d love to try to beat England again with the full crowd this time. In the last few years, Scotland have had the momentum because we’ve won two out of the last three, so it’s an exciting time for Scotland and hopefully we can go and do it again.”

While injury has restricted Redpath to just four Scotland appearances (the most recent being his try-scoring contribution off the bench during November’s win over Argentina), he is determined to use the difficult times he has faced as positive learning experiences.

“It was tough because I played my first cap but picked up a neck issue which needed an injection,” he recalled. “I was back 10 weeks later but a couple of weeks after that I had a knee and a shoulder operation six weeks apart.

“I came back, played four games, but had another neck issue and another operation on that, so after that I didn’t rush it back, I just took my time, but it was hard.

“I got one cap in my first Six Nations, one cap in my second Six Nations, and two caps last Autumn, when you just want to get on with it.

“But I am only 23 and I forget that sometimes. I put quite a lot of pressure on myself to be playing every week but this season I have got better at dealing with it if I miss a game here or there. I know I have got to look after my body because if it is not up to scratch then I won’t be playing.

“The mental side of it was tough but I have got a good group of friends and family who have been there for me throughout those times. It was nice to see them at the Argentina game in November when they got to see some good times as well.”

As for his club situation, he is looking forward to working closely with Finn Russell when his Scotland team-mate joins the West Country club next season.

“It’s obviously a very, very good signing because he’s a pretty good player,” he grinned. “Hopefully, he’ll open some opportunities for us to play a bit more. We’ve got some good backs and we want the ball as much as we can, so hopefully he can open a few doors for us to create some good tries.”