GRANT Stewart admits that he came pretty close to packing it all in at one stage. This is all rather appropriate, considering the hooker was gainfully employed loading lorries for his family’s haulage firm at the time.

But at the age of 24, all the heavy lifting which went before is finally paying off for this Glasgow Warriors front row.

Having made his full international debut in the last part of Saturday’s 17-14 warm-up victory against France at BT Murrayfield, this former Strathaven, Carluke and Glasgow Hawks forward is likely to get another chance to prove he is worthy of a seat on the plane for Japan in Tbilisi this Saturday.

The real stuff might start in a month or so’s time out in the land of the rising sun but whatever happens it is always nice when you can walk off the park after your debut having played a part in victory with all your family and friends watching.

“It's a dream come true to make my debut at Murrayfield and I'm thrilled,” said Stewart. “I started out with Strathaven and I've been with three clubs and had different coaches, so it's been a bit of journey. But I've got there.

"I played for Scotland at Under-17s and Under 18s, but that was it - there was no 20s selection and I’m not sure why that was,” he added. “I stalled a bit at Dalziel, that's when I moved to Glasgow Hawks and I didn't really kick off there until I was 21.

“I was working for my mum's family haulage company then,” he added. “Loading lorries. I don't have an HGV licence.

“The year before Fin Gillies took over as coach at Hawks, I was kind of thinking I might move and play for another team a few leagues below and keep working for the haulage company in Carluke. But he convinced me to stay.

“Playing for Scotland was always what I wanted to do. I thought I might not get it maybe, but it's always what I wanted.

“I thought I played well and hopefully I’ll get another chance next weekend,” he added. “To go to a World Cup with Scotland would be a dream come true too. I just need to take as much as I can and give 100 per cent.”

Stewart might have run onto the field with the advice of his fellow hooker Fraser Brown to stay calm ringing in his ears, but events had conspired to make things rather chaotic when he entered the fray.

The Scots were still reeling from the loss of Sam Skinner, the Exeter Chiefs lock forward/back row, to an untimely hamstring injury at that point.

For a minute, Stewart feared he might be plunged into action in the back row. Instead, he was happy to be part of an improved set piece effort from the Scots in scrums and line-outs after the 32 mauling against the same opponents in Nice.

"Before the match they said just relax and enjoy it,” said Stewart. “We have wee notes above our jerseys in the changing room and Fraser Brown had left me a typed up wee note in a frame. It said just relax and enjoy. After the first five minutes I did manage to.

"They said I was going on for Skinner and I was thinking 'well, does that mean back row?' but George [Turner] went there so it was all good."

While Scotland saw this match out with a degree of comfort after Chris Harris’ clinching try, did Stewart recognise much of a step up against the much-vaunted French front row?

"Yes, it was quicker,” said Stewart, who was inspired by All Blacks Jonah Lomu and Benji Marshall as a youngster.

“Obviously, their front rows are big boys so it was different. The first five minutes felt the longest I'd ever played, I was ballooned. But no, it was good.

"I've had to work on my line-out throwing a lot. If I want to play at Test level Gregor has said that has to improve. So I've worked hard at that with the coaches and the throwing coach."