EDINBURGH RUGBY’S Mark Bennett admits the last two years have been nothing short of “crap”.

The centre spent his early twenties being touted as one of the most talented players in Scottish rugby but a spate of injuries over the past couple of years left him sitting on the sidelines rather than working his magic on the pitch all too often. It has not, says the 26-year-old, been an easy spell and he has spent many an hour fretting over his physical ailments.

“I’ve barely played any rugby, so it has been crap,” he said.

“In terms of when I have got back fit, I have not performed to my best. And then when I have started to feel like I am finding my feet I have broken down again.

Through no fault of my own, either. It is just the way it goes – it is a stupid sport at times.”

However, this season, things have been looking up for Bennett. He has shown glimpses of his best - he has racked up seven tries already for the capital club – and he admits he is starting to feel confident in his game again.

“I feel like – after two crap years – I am finding my feet again, and starting to show what I can do,” he said.

“I think the big thing for me was getting a full pre-season in (this summer). I hadn’t done a full pre-season since 2010-11 because of different things (the Olympics, Scotland tours, Junior World Cup and sevens tours) so for me to get that opportunity to get fit, fast and strong, and obviously that gets you more durable as well, so I have been able to play week-in and week-out with no real injuries. So that has been a huge thing for me.

“I think a huge part of where my game is now comes down to having a huge training block under my belt and I’ve been able to crack on from there.

“I feel like I’m a more rounded player now. At the end of last season, I wasn’t playing my best at all, I probably wasn’t quite as quick or agile as I had been but that gave me a chance to develop in other ways, so I’m a much better ball player now than I had been, I can kick better now, and at the minute I feel like I’m fast again and I can step again – so we’re getting there.”

Bennett has timed finding his form to perfection, with Edinburgh due to take on Glasgow Warriors over the next two weekends in the first two legs of this season’s 1872 Cup.

Edinburgh will travel to Scotstoun on Saturday to take on their great rivals, with Bennett all too familiar with the inner workings of the Warriors. The centre made his pro debut for the Scotstoun side back in 2010, moving to Clermont Auvergne a year later. However, he returned to Glasgow for five years before signing for Edinburgh in 2017.

As a west-coast boy – he was born and brought up in Ayrshire – he grew up supporting Glasgow but that only serves to drive his desire to get a win on Saturday even more.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had plenty of great days at Scotstoun and hopefully I am going to have another one this weekend, except in slightly different colours this time. It’s a good place to go and play,” he said.

“I have a load of good mates there and there will be plenty of people I know at the game as well, so I’m wanting to get out there and prove myself.

“I wouldn’t say that I want to rub it in, but I want to win – it’s as simple as that.”

Selection for the Six Nations squad is not far away and Bennett, who has already amassed 22 international caps, is likely to be back in the frame given his good form this season. There are few who would grudge the centre a return to Scotland colours but Bennett insists that while he would love to be back in the Scotland squad, international selection is far from his mind for now.

“I just want to play. I’ve played more rugby this season so far than I have the last two put together, so for me it is just about backing that up,” he said.

“I’ve had a sore body during the week – I’m not used to playing week-in and week-out – but I’m absolutely loving it.

“If (Scotland selection) comes, that comes. It is obviously an aim for me to get back in the Scotland team, but this weekend is more important at the minute.”