When Edinburgh Rugby line up against Agen on Friday evening, Jamie Ritchie will not be in unchartered territory. The back-row faced the French team in just his second game for Edinburgh and while he doesn’t remember much about the match itself, he does remember the aftermath.

“I played against them two or three seasons ago, away over there. I came off the bench,” he said.

“I remember it was cold. And I remember I had to sing a song on the bus on the way back to the hotel after the game. I would only have been about 18. It was my first away trip. I have a few songs in the repertoire but I think it might have been ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams I sang.”

Their trip to Agen will be Edinburgh’s first outing in European competition this season, with the pair joined in their European Challenge Cup pool by Wasps and Bordeaux Begles.

While Richard Cockerill and his coaching staff have said their priority this season is the Pro14 rather than Europe, the players have all been keen to stress that they are not planning on taking things easy, despite being in the second tier of European competition.

For Ritchie in particular, who was on the sidelines for a few weeks following a facial in jury in the RWC warm-up game against Georgia which saw him have a steel plate inserted in his left cheek, he is keen to get as much game time as possible.

“I’ve only played one game since I’ve been back from the World Cup and I’ve not backed two games up this season so I’m keen to play,” the 23-year-old said.

“Any game where I get an opportunity to play, I want to. The guys have been playing well while we’ve been away so we need to put our hands up for selection for the games coming up.”

Despite his less than ideal preparation, Ritchie impressed at the RWC, and was even given a Samurai sword by the Japanese team following their match as the best players in the opposing team. Having set such high standards for himself in Japan, he is keen to continue that now he is back on the club scene. And given the competition in the back-row, and the level shown by the players in the internationalists absence, Ritchie cannot afford to take his foot off the gas for even a minute.

“My ambition is to play as often and as well as I can. I have set a high standard for myself out in the World Cup and I would like to maintain that. Sometimes a game does not fall your way but you can do your jobs to the best of your ability. You’re only as good as your next game so for me the World Cup has gone and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks,” he said.

"I welcome competition as it makes you better. It’s the nature of our sport. If you are not playing well somebody can come in and put you out of your position so there is no hiding away from it. That’s the nature of the beast. Guys have been injured and that has given me opportunities in my career and I have come in and played well.

"You have seen the guys when we have been away doing really well. Ally Miller, Nick Haining, Luke Crosbie has really stepped up and is playing a more senior role to play in the team this year which is great to see. It is a huge confidence boost for us coming back knowing these guys are playing well. To get our jerseys back we need to perform to their level and higher.”