Adam Ashe out to cap amazing year with Glasgow title
|Pro12 semi-final: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster|
|Venue: Scotstoun Stadium Date: Friday, 22 May Kick-off: 19:45|
|Coverage: Live on BBC ALBA & available via red button with English commentary, BBC Radio Scotland and online|
For Glasgow Warriors back-row Adam Ashe the past 12 months has been a pleasant blur of firsts.
International honours, Six Nations action, European rugby and now, a crack at the Pro12 title.
"Playing my first game at Murrayfield was unbelievable," Ashe told BBC Scotland ahead of Friday's semi-final at home to Ulster.
"But this time last year, there was absolutely no chance I would have been involved in the semi-final or final."
The 21-year-old is not indulging in forced modesty - a recipient of the prized John Macphail Scholarship in 2014, Ashe rose from obscurity to win his first Scotland cap against South Africa in June before he had donned a Warriors jersey.
But in a squad peppered with early-1990s birthdays, youth is afforded no special privileges.
"Some of the top performers in this team are the same age as me, or a year or two older," Ashe, who returned from a neck injury to feature in Scotland's last two Six Nations fixtures, acknowledged.
"We have just as much pressure on us as the older players in the team.
"That's the expectation the coaches and rest of the players put on us at this club, and I think it shows through the success we've had over the last couple of years. We need to perform; that's how it is.
"I try to approach every game the same - the same routines before every game, little things like eating the same sort of thing before every game, and I think these small things add up to performances you hope to achieve, whether it be playing for Scotland or playing here at Glasgow, it's the same thing."
Ashe is a relative latecomer to rugby, picking up the sport in his mid-teens at Alva Academy, and has featured on the blindside flank as well as at number eight this season.
"I played all sports, a bit of golf, football, athletics, various different sports," he added. "I didn't start rugby until I was about 15. So I was pretty late to the game, but it's definitely the sport that's right for me - I love it.
"I prefer being at number eight, I like being in the back field, counter-attacking and all the rest of it. But I do like playing at six as well, and getting myself involved in the defensive line - slightly different roles, but similar positions."
After ball-carrying with typical aplomb during Saturday's bonus-point win over Ulster, a victory that ensured the Warriors finished the regular league season top of the pile, Ashe is gearing up for a Scotstoun rematch.
"They rested quite a lot of their international players, so we'd expect them to be involved this weekend, and potentially field a stronger team," he said.
"There will be slight differences in how we play, I'd imagine.
"Last weekend we had to get as many points on the board as we could, four tries. This weekend we'll be taking as many opportunities as we can, whether it's kicking the ball over the posts, scoring tries, to get points on the board whenever we can.
"I'd imagine it would be slightly more like a Test than a normal Pro12 game. It will be slightly different, but I'm really looking forward to it."