THE day after his playing ban ended, Simon Berghan, the tighthead prop, was back training with the Scotland squad with the endorsement of his club coach ringing in his ears, backing him to make an instant return to international action against France this coming weekend.

Richard Cockerill, Berghan’s coach at Edinburgh, knows exactly the pressure the Scotland scrum will face against France, after all, he coached Toulon to the Top 14 final last season and came up against most of the front five contenders to face Scotland.

“He is now unsuspended and with Scotland,” Cockerill reported after Edinburgh training yesterday. “He has been doing everything with us – just hasn’t been playing. He is fresh – he hasn’t played since Glasgow at home – so he has had good rest and then a good training spell and he could be straight into the Test arena, so he is a lucky boy.

“Physically, it is going to be a big test for the Scotland forward pack. If Scotland can play the way they want to and keep the game fluid, then they will create opportunities because the French are consistently inconsistent. They certainly have a big pack, though. The scrums were a mess against Ireland but the pitch at Murrayfield will be good.”

Cockerill admits that Berghan is not yet the finished article. He sometimes lets his concentration lapse, which is invariably punished at Test level, and is not always as ruthless as he needs to be – “He is a lovely man, which is great when you are off the field, but not always when you are on it,” was how Cockerill put it.

For all that, Berghan has scrummaged well for Edinburgh and finished the November campaign as the starting Test tighthead after WP Nel broke his arm.

“He has a lot of potential, he is certainly good enough for the Test arena, it is just whether he applies himself,” Cockerill added.