The road to recovery from injury involves soul searching and requires mental fortitude to return as Kyle Rowe can testify. 

The 25-year-old would be justified in feeling that he was cursed after a dream moment turned into the start of a nightmare for 12 months. In July 2022, Rowe was handed his Scotland debut against Argentina in Salta, but he sustained a serious knee injury that ruled him out for the entirety of last season.

During his rehabilitation, Rowe’s club side London Irish went into administration leaving the talented winger facing unemployment whilst recuperating from his cruciate issue. 

Many players would’ve become despondent but Rowe called upon his inner strength and he was rewarded when Glasgow Warriors offered him a contract.

“Of course it’s tough,” Rowe admitted. “You’ll be going into training and seeing the boys. You’re part of the group but you’re not part of the group because you’re not out there training week in, week out. All you’re doing is going into the gym, doing rehab then going home.

“It’s obviously tough, a bit draining, a bit tedious but I got through it and I’m back now. The inspiration for me was just to get back as quickly as I could. I just want to play rugby and that was really the crux of it. I didn’t get the chance when I initially came back to London Irish.

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“With me not coming back last season and playing for London Irish it probably drove me on even more to want to play. I had the whole summer off, then a good pre-season here and then in that first game I was properly ready to get at it. There were no issues with the knee and the body was feeling good.”

Injury deprived Rowe of the opportunity to stake his claim to be included in Gregor Townsend’s squad for the World Cup. Rowe, however, was afforded the chance to train with the Scotland squad, which was extremely beneficial for his fitness as it allowed him to return to Glasgow in pristine condition. 

“Yeah, big time,” Rowe replied when asked about the importance of training with Scotland. “I’ve grown up with a load of these boys that were in the camp. Our season at London Irish finished before Glasgow’s did so I had quite a lengthy period of time off which was good for the body but at that point, I was ready to get back into some form of training so when I got the phone call asking me to come in to train, it was great for me because I was able to come into pre-season here already fit, well conditioned and it was a nice easy transition.”

Rowe highlighted his attacking and finishing ability with a try on his competitive debut against Connacht last week. It ended in a disappointing defeat against the Irish side, but Rowe is determined to avenge that result when the Warriors face the Stomers under the lights at Scotstoun on Friday night. 

“It was good,” Rowe added on his debut. “It was my first proper competitive game back since doing my knee so it was good to get the full 80 minutes, in attack and defence. Hopefully, I can feel good for this week and just rip into it basically. 

“Playing Friday night under the lights with hopefully a packed out Scotstoun will be amazing, and playing one of the top teams in the competition is going to be a good test for us.”

“I’m ready to get ripped into these big games. Every game’s big but you’ve obviously got the top teams and I’m ready to show what I can do against one of the best teams. 

“We obviously wanted to put out a statement against Connacht and we didn’t do that but hopefully playing under the lights at home is going to give us a nice boost. I’m ready to rip into this week then rip into Friday.”

The fact that Rowe’s international debut ended in a disaster will act as motivation to catch the eye of Townsend in the coming months ahead of the Six Nations. 

All of Glasgow’s Scotland contingent have returned to training and Rowe admits that’s increased the intensity - but his sole focus remains on impressing Warriros boss Franco Smith.

“It’s more about getting a good bit of game-time under my belt,” Rowe said on his Scotland ambitions.  “If it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t I just need to keep working hard, keep playing and keep scoring tries.”

“We try to replicate that intensity that the Scotland lads bring in our training, especially for the young guys coming through so if and when they do get to that stage it’s not going to be a shock for them. 

“With all the internationals coming back, it’s good to have everyone back in the building. We are training well. In the game at the weekend, we didn’t show what we are capable of but training is a very good standard at the minute.”