Edinburgh scrum-half Nic Groom is not a typical modern rugby player. A deep thinker and intelligent conversationalist, the 30-year-old South African admits that in many ways he is a throwback to the pre-professional days when the game was about more than the final score-line, and the superstars of the sport had a hinterland beyond playing their x-box and taking their designer puppy for a walk.

“There has got to be more to the game than just rocking up and winning,” he explains. “My view is that you play rugby for 10 years of your life if you are lucky, and if you live to 80 then that’s a small slice of your life.

“Certainly, all my big memories from the game come from the culture and values it gives us on or off the pitch, and those are the things that are going to make me a better person. One day I’ll have some great stories to tell off the back of that.

“And one day I will return to the amateur game, when the time is right – I can’t say how many seasons, but I’ll definitely be back out there having a laugh one day.”

This doesn’t mean that Groom’s love affair with rugby has been all plain sailing. He says the relationship was in danger of going stale around the time he arrived at Edinburgh last summer, but then explains how he found a way to work through that scenario.

“I felt like a robot on the field, but that’s no-one’s fault but my own. At the beginning of my career, I was someone who took risks, who liked to play what they see, who didn’t think about things too much, but over time I sort of became a box-ticker.

“I played back-to-back seasons and towards the end it became easier to play a certain way, but that’s not who I am. So, the self-awareness is about what really makes me tick when I enjoy the game, what brings the best out of me, and I think I’ve got a good idea of what that looks like now.

It must have helped that Edinburgh as a team were going through a similar process this season, from dogged competitors playing a limited game-plan, to a side capable of capitalising on the threat posed by one of the most exciting back three triumvirates in the European club game [Darcy Graham, Duhan van der Merwe and Blair Kinghorn].

When rugby returns to Scotland a week on Saturday, Groom and his Edinburgh team-mates will have a chance to not only claim the scalp of their great Glasgow Warriors rivals, and more importantly to secure a spot in the PRO14 play-offs for only the second time in the club’s history. The stakes are high, but Groom is hopeful that the unique circumstances mean that the match won’t be the sort of cagey affair which so often characterise winner-takes-all contests.

“I hope there will be a bit more freedom because we’re not walking in with heavy amounts of analysis,” he says. “If there’s nothing we can review, then we’ll look for more opportunities for people to express themselves. Hopefully, guys who have only been able to focus on their own games will be able to paint a different picture.

“It could go either way,” he added. “If there’s any complacency there then you’ll lose. These highly charged games don’t just come down to the best side necessarily winning, there are other factors at play. We need to do all we can to make sure we’re on the right side of the result.”