JACK Cuthbert celebrated his return to the Bath side with a hat-trick last week – but knows even that may not be enough to earn him a start in the LV= Cup against Exeter tomorrow (2.15pm).
The Scotland international full-back ran in a treble against Amlin Challenge Cup opponents Bucharest, having not appeared since the away win in Italy against Calvisano in early December when he scored the first of his four tries this season.
Cuthbert, 25, has found his opportunities limited this term – he has made just 10 appearances – and admitted: “I was really happy. It was my first start for a while and to have it at the Rec and get three tries and such a win.’’
With Nick Abendanon largely dominating the number 15 jersey, Cuthbert has had to be patient but while the hat-trick was certainly a reminder to the club’s coaching staff, he concedes it guarantees little when it comes to clinging on to the shirt.
“You’d think that, but there’s a bit of a myth going on at Bath that you do get dropped if you get a hat-trick so it’s fingers crossed at the minute!,’’ he said.
“That’s one of the strengths of this squad. It’s getting bigger and bigger and there is a lot of talent.
“I had my opportunity last weekend so I’m just looking to make the most of it. I’ve been playing below Nick Abendanon for a couple of years and I like to think that when I’m playing well I put the heat on him.’’
Bath have not lost to Exeter since the Chiefs arrival in the top flight in 2011 but they have proved accomplished performers at the top level, qualifying for the Heineken Cup and running European champions Leinster close twice this season.
“Last time (a 12-12 Premiership draw last month) was the closest result, but we’re so far unbeaten (against Exeter),’’ said Cuthbert.
“We know they are a quality side so we won’t be taking anything for granted.’’
The start of the Six Nations Championship a week tomorrow is a reminder to Cuthbert of the heights he can achieve, having won his one and only Scotland cap against Ireland in a pre-World Cup warm-up fixture in August 2011.
Cuthbert has yet to meet new Scotland coach Scott Johnson but knows only top form for his club will get him back on the international radar.
“I’ve got a cap for Scotland and I’d like to play for Scotland as often as I can,’’ he said.
“That’s obviously dependent on as much rugby as I get for Bath, so I’ll take it one step as a time.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to deal with Scott first hand, but from what I hear from the boys the camp so hopefully that will bear some fruit in the Six Nations.’’
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