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Scotland centre hoping to come full circle after making 2015 World Cup squad

By PA
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Mark Bennett is braced for a fight to secure himself a spot in the Scotland squad for the World Cup next autumn.

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The 29-year-old Edinburgh centre went to the 2015 tournament in England but missed out on Japan in 2019 due to a hamstring injury.

Bennett has won 29 caps for Scotland but, having only appeared in two of the four recent autumn Tests, he knows he has work to do to cement his place in Gregor Townsend’s plans

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“Everybody wants to go to the World Cup,” he told the PA news agency. “2015 was an amazing experience for me rugby-wise. I’ll be doing all I can to get myself another opportunity to experience that and play at another World Cup.

“There are a lot of players battling for a place, but I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m playing some great rugby, I’m playing some of the best rugby I’ve played, so I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and stay true to myself.”

Bennett and his fellow Scotland internationals returned to training with Edinburgh this week following their exploits with the national team.

“The international break was great,” he said. “I loved being back in and around camp. Training was fast, exciting and hard.

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“I’m disappointed I didn’t play more, but that’s just down to the calibre of player we’ve got in the midfield at the moment. I’m working hard and doing what I can to try and get that shirt, and I’ll keep doing that.

“I felt like I trained really well. I thought I did a lot of good stuff in the Australia game. The New Zealand game was tough because I came on at a time when the momentum was starting to swing and the game probably didn’t go as well as I’d have hoped.

“I made one silly error in defence. I need to work on bits of my defence, but I just need to keep doing what I’m doing because I feel like I’m bringing a hell of a lot elsewhere.”

Bennett is excited about Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship clash with Munster at Dam Health Stadium on Friday night.

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“It’s a huge period for Edinburgh with games every weekend for the next nine weeks,” he said. “The depth of the squad is going to be tested.

“The boys have got to push each other every week. We’re sitting fifth in the league and in every game we’ve lost, we’ve been there or thereabouts so we’re not far off being very good. I feel we’re ready to crack on.

“It’s always a great challenge against Munster. Every time we’ve played them recently, they’ve been tight games so this weekend’s going to be no exception.

“They’re really physical so we need to match them there to give ourselves a chance. It’s an exciting week for us.”

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