Young Glasgow Warriors lock Max Williamson spent time with the Scotland squad during the Guinness Six Nations, and admits it was a world away from his pre-season trepidation.  

Williamson, who signed professional terms with Glasgow at the start of last season, said he was not sure how much he’d play this season.  

Competition for places is fierce at Scotstoun, with Scotland pair Richie Gray and Scott Cummings established as the club’s first choice combination in the boiler house, with JP du Preez and Sintu Manjezi also options for Franco Smith.  

"I doubted myself a bit at the start of the season,” Williamson said.  

“I was a bit stressed out and wasn’t sure if I was going to get an opportunity so I was just focusing on myself and preparing so that if I did get an opportunity I’d be able to take it and keep myself there. 

“Lucky I was able to get a chance so I was happy about that but it’s been great.” 

With Cummings on Scotland duty, and both Gray and du Preez injured, Williamson will hope to get a chance to put in a big performance against Cardiff at Scotstoun on Friday.  

That could put him in contention to play the Champions Cup last 16 match against Harlequins on April 5.  

He is relishing the opportunities afforded to him by head coach Smith.  

Williamson said: “It’s the first chance to get a decent number of games under my belt in a fully pro environment.  

"I’m happy to get my first three starts and it’s good to get a good amount of game time. I must admit I was pretty tired, I’m not used to playing more than 20 minutes of a time but it’s been good.” 

Williamson, his former Scotland age-grade lock partner Alex Samuel and back-row Euan Ferrie were all invited to join Gregor Townsend’s squad for training during the Six Nations.  

READ MORE: Glasgow Warriors trio invited to train with Scotland squad

The 22-year-old said it was good experience and will hope a strong end to the season could win him a place on the summer tour.  

He added: “It’s good to see how a different environment runs and prepares for the international each week and to be a part of it. It’s quite interesting. I sort of got a few tips to take back and develop myself. 

“It’s definitely good to experience what it’s like and see how they prepare themselves so if you do end up in there at some point it’s not brand new and you understand what they are trying to do.” 

Scotland Rugby News: Max Williamson and Euan Ferrie were with the Scotland squad recentlyMax Williamson and Euan Ferrie were with the Scotland squad recently (Image: SNS)

Now he’s had a taste of the environment, he knows exactly what it will take to earn a call-up as a full member of the squad.  

He said: “It’s another step up in terms of the detail. You can’t afford to be off it. You can’t afford to do that [at Glasgow] either to be fair, but it was a bit more on edge the whole time.” 

Williamson was a mainstay of the Scotland U20 side between 2020 and 2022. He knows that after another dismal Six Nations campaign, the current age-grade crop will be hurting.  

“I certainly know what it feels like and it’s not nice,” he said.  

READ MORE: Ruaraidh Hart 'proud' of Scotland U20 despite heavy Ireland defeat

"Even though it’s only six or seven weeks it feels like a lot longer when results aren’t going your way.  

“You sometimes feel a bit helpless and there’s not much you can do so you just keep fighting for it. 

“It’s a good development opportunity as difficult as it is. You do learn a lot from each game but it’s tough.” 

He believes the players’ physical development was impacted by the Covid pandemic, but despite Kenny Murray’s side finishing bottom of the table and without a win, Williamson believes there are positives to take.  

He said: “They played a lot better, looked more organised and were in the games for longer so it is moving in the right direction but it’s not a quick fix. 

“If you look at Ireland’s 20s five years ago, they weren’t performing. It’s that slow thing so hopefully in three years’ time the performance will come from the set up.” 

He also attributed a spell on loan at Doncaster with aiding his development  

“It’s great to be in this environment training but especially for young forwards, game time is key,” he said.  

“You need to play high level games and with the Super Series not on there wasn’t really any chance of that so to go down and get seven or eight games under my belt was really helpful.”  

Scotland Rugby News: Max Williamson playing for Scotland U20Max Williamson playing for Scotland U20 (Image: SNS)

Williamson said players, particularly forwards, need more time to develop before they are ready for the rigours of pro rugby.  

“It’s difficult because sometimes it takes some guys until they are 23,” he said.  

“Not everyone is ready to come out and be ready for pro games, I certainly wasn’t. It’s a different game.”