AS he prepares to return to action with Edinburgh tonight, Ben Cairns must be feeling a bit like Rip Van Winkle returning to his village to find that, while he had been away, everything he knew had changed.

When Cairns left, he was surrounded by familiar faces; on his return to the Murrayfield turf tonight there is not a single back he has played alongside before.

It is a demonstration of two things: the length of time the centre, capped seven times by Scotland before being one of those who failed to make the final cut for last season's Rugby World Cup squad, has been on the sidelines; and the pace of change at the top end of Scottish rugby.

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