EVERY winger knows the sensation: the ball in your hands, your opposite number nowhere to be seen, and a clear run to the line. An opportunity has opened up before you: one you simply have to take.

Which is precisely how Ratu Tagive must be feeling now, as he looks ahead to his chances of finally making his debut for Scotland this summer. The Glasgow back has already come agonisingly close to winning his first cap, having been a travelling reserve for last October’s Six Nations win in Wales. Now, with Duhan van der Merwe on Lions duty and Darcy Graham recovering from shoulder surgery, two considerable obstacles have been removed from Tagive’s path as he aspires to selection for the July Tests against Georgia and Romania. Provided he stays fit and shows decent form in the Warriors’ remaining Rainbow Cup matches, he appears guaranteed to realise the ambition he has held since he moved to Scotstoun from Australia five years ago.

Needless to say, Tagive himself is taking nothing for granted. Having struggled for various reasons to claim a regular place in the Glasgow line-up, he believes he may have to prove himself all over again at the Dragons on Saturday and then home to Leinster the following weekend if he is to avail himself of the opportunity that has opened up for him. But he also knows that his time may well have come.

“I’d be lying if I said that was not in the back of my mind,” the 30-year-old said last week. “The only way to control that is by playing as well as I can week to week, so that’s where my focus is at the moment. If I can keep playing some good rugby and that comes around, then I’ll be pretty chuffed about that and keep chasing the ever-evasive first cap. 

“That would be pretty special. That’s like things that you dream of as a kid growing up. 

“I think of boys I have seen make their debut. I was 24th man when [Warriors prop] Oli Kebble made his international debut down in Wales last October. When one of the senior boys was speaking in the huddle before the match, I had my eye on Oli. He’s a big man who doesn’t show emotion, but he had some tears coming down. 


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“It’s a special achievement in anyone’s career to get even one cap for your country, so that would be a dream come true. Can’t say much more than that.” 

After kicking off their Rainbow Cup campaign with that dismal loss to Benetton, Glasgow have got themselves back in contention for a place in the final with two wins over Edinburgh. But Tagive knows it will be tough on Saturday night against a much-improved Dragons side, who have beaten the Warriors both at home and at Scotstoun already this season.

“Dragons are a different beast now,” the winger continued. “We spoke about this going into the Treviso game. You’re not just going to turn up and expect to roll teams, especially on their own patch, in the way you might have been able to do in previous years. So the approach to the Dragons game is taking the energy we have had from the 1872 Cup game and the game at the weekend in Edinburgh and take it to another level.”

At Scotstoun in December, the Dragons won by a single point after Brandon Thomson’s last-minute conversion attempt came crashing back off an upright. Some of the Glasgow players were less than impressed when members of the Welsh side celebrated by running over to the stand-off and rubbing him on the end, and although Tagive describes that action as “sportsmanship”, he and his team-mates clearly believe it is time they got one back on the Dragons. 

“When Brandon hit the post right at full-time, the sportsmanship of the boys running over, cheering and rubbing him on the head - you remember those moments. We’ll match that energy and give it back to them when we get the opportunity. It’s a grudge match in the same way it has been in the last two weeks against Edinburgh and we’ll take that energy into setting the record straight in the way we haven’t been able to in the previous two encounters with them.

“And obviously Leinster have won four titles on the trot, so it’s a tall ask. We dropped both games against them [in the PRO14] as well. But again it’s just one step at a time. We need to give the Dragons full respect and get over that hurdle first and foremost and then we can look ahead to Leinster. There’s not much to be said about them - they’re a championship outfit, regardless of which players they put on the park.”