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Magnus Bradbury: ‘I took playing for Scotland for granted’

Magnus Bradbury wants to play his way back into Scotland contention when he returns to Edinburgh next season – and admits he took his status as a Test player for granted earlier in his career.

Bradbury, who won the last of his 19 Scotland caps against Argentina in July 2022, will rejoin the capital side from Bristol in the summer.

“I think it’s quite easy to get caught up in all that international stuff,” Bradbury, 28, told the BBC Scotland Rugby Podcast.

“You maybe think you’ve made it or didn’t realise how fragile that existence is. It’s one of these things that can be taken away from you just as quickly as you get it and maybe I didn’t realise that at the time.”

During his first spell at Edinburgh, Bradbury was tipped for big things and was made captain at the age of just 22 by head coach Richard Cockerill.

However, the role was quickly removed following an off-field incident.

“There were definitely a couple of demons that needed addressing,” Bradbury said of that period. “I’m never going to blame anything in my career on one incident.

“That was a lesson for me and while I’m not glad it happened, the learnings I took from that and the years after that with Edinburgh were almost a kind of reward in terms of how it could have gone to what it ended up turning into.

“The couple of seasons I had afterwards – made the Scotland squad, played in the Six Nations, played at the World Cup – to me, that was a reward for the hard work I put in.”

Bradbury scored a try in Scotland’s remarkable 38-38 draw with England at Twickenham in the 2019 Six Nations and later that year played a key role at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, having initially been left out of the squad.

A slump in performances saw him fall out of favour with Scotland coach Gregor Townsend and despite rediscovering his best form since a switch to Bristol – he was named the club’s Players’ Player of the Year last season – Bradbury has struggled to get a look in again.

He was called into the training squad during the 2024 Six Nations but did not feature in any matchday squads.

“It’s frustrating for me, not being involved, but at the same time I’m not playing and training day in and day out, week in and week out to play for Scotland,” said Bradbury, who made his Test debut against Argentina in 2016.

“Obviously that’s where I want to be but it’s about how well I play for Bristol or how well I play for Edinburgh before that happens.

“If I do get the call, like I did in the Six Nations, to come up and train, that’s the next step. It’s about training really well with Scotland and putting your hand up.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster but I try not to let it get to me too much [when not selected].

“Scotland are going well and I’m not involved but it’s about turning that frustration into playing well for Bristol, and you never know what’s going to happen.

“For whatever reason I’ve not been involved as much and it’s just about how I handle it from my end for Bristol and Edinburgh. We’ll see where that gets me.”

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