Damien Hoyland: 'Scotland World Cup squad exit was blessing'

Damien Hoyland training with the Scotland squad at Murrayfield
Hoyland has one cap for Scotland

Damien Hoyland was disappointed not to make Scotland's World Cup squad but reckons it has worked in his favour.

The 22-year-old winger is preparing for the summer tour of Japan after an eye-catching campaign with Edinburgh.

"It would have been great to be involved at the World Cup, but for me it was a win-win situation," he said.

"I learned a lot from the more experienced guys [in the pre-tournament training squad] and that helped kick-start my season."

Hoyland was among the 16 players cut as head coach Vern Cotter selected 30 players for his World Cup pool.

Scotland went on to reach the quarter-finals, suffering a narrow quarter-final defeat by Australia at Twickenham in October.

"After training with them, I felt quite comfortable," he explained. "I did feel ready for it, but I'm in a much better place now.

Damien Hoyland in action for Edinburgh
Hoyland is contracted at Edinburgh for the next two seasons

"I felt way better for being involved in the pre-World Cup stuff and, if it wasn't for that, I maybe would have been a bit slower to start for Edinburgh and not done as well.

"How it worked out was maybe the best thing that could have happened for me.

"If I'd gone to the World Cup and not got much game-time then I would have missed a lot of games for Edinburgh.

"There's always disappointment, but it was quite easy to get back to reality and to focus on trying to play well for my club."

Hoyland was a late replacement in Scotland's second World Cup warm-up game, against Italy in Turin, but admits he did not seize the opportunity to impress.

"I didn't see any of the ball, maybe made one or two tackles," he recalls. "It was just the way the match went."

Eight tries from 22 starts

However, he was a bright light in another frustrating season for Edinburgh.

Having made his club debut in February 2015, Hoyland can boast eight tries from 22 starts for Alan Solomons' side.

Tommy Seymour, Sean Maitland and Sean Lamont are the other wingers in the squad for the two-Test visit to Japan, with the latter a call-up for the injured Tim Visser.

Hoyland said it was a confidence boost to originally be selected ahead of Lamont, who has 104 caps.

"I'm just embracing it, and trying to get on with it, without thinking about it too much," he added.

"From being involved last year, I know what's expected of me. I know I'll have to give everything.

"It's more about trying to bring what I've done for Edinburgh this season, although this is a much higher standard.

"This was the dream I had as a kid. It's about not getting caught up in that and trying to move on to the next level."