Fiji v Scotland: John Hardie targets win after injury frustration

John Hardie
Hardie suffered a back spasm in the warm-up to Scotland's opening tour game

Scotland flanker John Hardie wants to end a nightmarish eight months with a win against Fiji on Saturday in Suva.

Hardie is expected to start in Gregor Townsend's team having had an injury-interrupted season.

Once Scotland's undisputed number seven, he has suffered an awful run of bad luck culminating with the loss of his Test place to Hamish Watson.

"I've been unfortunate, but I'm looking to put it behind me and finish the season on a real high," said Hardie.

The New Zealand-born back-row, 28, was one of Scotland's stars at the 2015 World Cup, his work-rate and impact at the breakdown catching the eye. He was talked about as one of the players of the tournament, but this season has brought one setback after another.

In November, during a bruising Test against Australia, Hardie suffered damage to his ankle and knee, while also suffering a concussion. It took him two months to recover.

Following on from that, he was selected to play against Wales in the Six Nations but had to retire after just 24 minutes. Then he appeared as a substitute in the game against France but only lasted five minutes before having to go off injured again.

Townsend named Hardie in the starting line-up for his first Test as Scotland coach, against Italy in Singapore, but Hardie suffered a back spasm in the warm-up and had to withdraw.

"Everybody gets injuries and everybody has low patches, but rehab is a really good time to look at it as a positive, even though it isn't so much," Hardie told BBC Scotland.

"You have to get your body right and get other aspects of your rugby game right. I've had a lot of time to do that.

John Hardie
Hardie impressed at the 2015 World Cup, having made his Scotland debut shortly before the tournament

"You can't look at the negative side too much. You'd love to be out there every week with the boys, but that's just the way rugby is sometimes. I'm a really positive person. I've had my fair share of injuries and I know how to overcome them.

"It does toughen you mentally, it helps you be more resilient and when you get on the field you realise how important it is. I'd never take anything for granted, but you realise when you get the injuries and you're not playing every week how hard it is.

"Hamish is playing some great rugby and I'm really happy for him. He's come on in leaps and bounds in the last year or two and he's getting lots of experience. The competition is healthy. It's bringing out the best in us.

"It's a privilege to be in camp and I've got to make the most of it. The boys have built a really good culture across the last two or three years, starting with Vern (Cotter) and now with Gregor, and we're just going to see more special things from this group."

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