THERE is something a bit odd about Huw Jones's career. He burst on to the European scene looking every inch a star in the making but as you read this, his biggest worry is just making the plane for the Rugby World Cup.

If he gets there, he will be looking to rekindle those early days when he could do no wrong. If he does, he will be a major figure across the whole tournament, never mind just Scotland's contribution to it. As things stand, though, that "if" looms large.

A year and a half ago, the world was his oyster. He had just emerged from a stellar Six Nations campaign, including two memorable tries in the 2018 Murrayfield win over England to continue a run where he claimed eight in as many games.

Despite a summer wrist injury that kept him at home when his international team-mates were off on tour, he was back for the November Tests and, despite taking the blame for both the Welsh tries in the opening fixture, was still high enough profile to attract serious interest from the English Premiership.

There was, by all accounts, serious money from Leicester Tigers on the table but in the end, he stayed put.

"I was pretty close, it was obviously a really nice offer basically," he said as he thought back to those heady days. "Yeah, I was close to going. The thing that kept me was probably the Scotland stuff. I’d spoken with Gregor [Townsend, the head coach] and Scott Johnson [the director of rugby, who has since moved back to Australia].

"With Scotland you get protected and plenty of rest – though I probably get too much rest! It was good for the confidence, it showed there was someone out there that rated me.

"I guess then getting a pretty good offer from Glasgow was also good for the confidence. It did show I wasn’t unwanted but maybe I had to do a bit more."

That was the issue for him. Since he arrived at Glasgow as a superstar in the making, his club career has pretty much crashed on take off. His 21 caps for Scotland compare with just 20 for his club – possibly more telling, he made his debut off the bench but was in the starting XV for every subsequent cap; he has started only 12 games for Glasgow.

He struggles to explain how he was so good at Test level yet floundering so much for the club: "I’m not really sure," he said. "I think everyone’s got work-ons. Things they can improve in their game. I obviously need to improve as a player a bit more to command a spot in the team.

"I don’t think it’s about settling in. Even when I was playing in Cape Town I struggled for game time at times with the Stormers. It was only my last two seasons and Currie Cup when I started to get consistent games. That’s when I played my best rugby and obviously got my opportunity with Scotland.

"Moving over [to Scotland], there have been a few injuries which have hampered my game time – getting those, coming back, going away with Scotland, coming back and not getting selected.

"Sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes frustrating. The ball’s in my court. I need to makes sure I’m doing the best I can so I can’t be dropped.”

The issue for Jones is that he is in position where Gregor Townsend has plenty of options, including both Nick Grigg and Kyle Steyn, who at various times in the last two years have been picked ahead of him at club level. Steyn started the Guinness PRO14 final, with Jones on the bench.

There are seven specialist centres in the World Cup squad and only two of them, Peter Horne and Sam Johnson, would be seen as specialist 12s. That leaves the remaining four, plus Steyn who is in the squad as a wing but finished the Glasgow season at centre, as potential competition with Jones for the 13 slot.

New boy Rory Hutchison and Duncan Taylor, who has hardly played in the last two years because of injuries, are both capable of playing anywhere in the back division. Like Steyn, Chris Harris is more of a centre/wing, leaving Grigg as his biggest specialist rival.

"Back-row and centre is probably where there is most competition," Jones accepted. "We’re all good players and there is no way of reading into anything we have done so far because it has basically been just small-sided games.

"From this week on, we might start getting an inkling [of what the coaches are thinking]. There is obviously no Test match at the end of this week but it will be more rugby-based than conditioning-based.

"You’ve got some guys with versatility and some guys not, so it is just about trying to get a balance, I guess.

"It was not often in the first couple of weeks that we did 15 on 15. We have a bit more the last couple of weeks and guys moved around in that – we’ve tried a lot of different combinations.

"One thing Gregor likes to do, even in a match week, is test the squad in case, on match-day, it all goes horribly wrong and we get a few injuries. I can think of Ali Price ending up on the wing and things like that can happen, so it is good to be prepared.

"I’ve played inside centre, and on the wing and at full-back as well. So, I’d be comfortable."

For all that, the big aim over the next four weeks is to prove those 10 tries in his first 14 games were the real indicator of his talent and the rest can be forgotten.

"Last season was pretty frustrating," he added. "I was in-and-out with Glasgow, and I had a couple of injuries. I went into the Six Nations thinking it was going to be a good chance to get a few games under my belt, then did my knee in the second game, which was pretty tough. I didn’t really play very much after that."