Rory Hutchinson sets his sights on Scotland’s summer tour to the Americas after battling a frustrating injury.

The Northampton Saints centre picked up a back injury during the Six Nations, and although he played 52 minutes for the Premiership leaders against Bristol in March, Hutchinson admits he wasn’t ready and has been out of action since.

The 28-year-old will make his return against Bath as Saints look to secure top spot ahead of the play-offs and will come up against fellow Scotland internationals Finn Russell, Cam Redpath and Josh Bayliss.

He’s excited to get back into action and hopes a good run of form will help catch the eye of Gregor Townsend. 

The centre hasn’t played for Scotland since the tour to Argentina in 2022 but he is desperate to pull on the blue shirt again.

Hutchinson said: “I spoke to him [Townsend] last week to have a catch-up and let him know my fitness status.

“I’m disappointed not to have played in the Six Nations but hopefully I have a bit of time to get game time under my belt and put my hand up for the summer tour but at the end of the day, it’s not down to me to decide that.

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“I’ll do what I can to put me in the best spot.

“I haven’t put the shirt on in two years. I’m still hungry and want to play at that level. Hopefully, I can put my hand up in the next few weeks to prove I can get a spot on that tour.

“It’s down to me just trying to play some good rugby and we’ll see how we get on.

“I said to Gregor I hope I get a few more games at the end of the season. 

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to try and play your best rugby and show what you’re capable of and it’s down to the coaches to select you if they believe you should be wearing the shirt.

“The competition is great, the squad depth is great to have and the competition means everyone works harder to get the best out of each other.

“It’s a strong area for Scotland and it’s good to see. It brings out the best in all of us.”

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Scotland endured a mixed Six Nations that ended with a fourth-place finish. Supporters were critical of Townsend while there were questions raised about the mentality of the squad.

But Hutchinson insists it’s an exciting time for Scottish rugby and believes success could come over the next couple of years.

He added: “That’s the sport we play. Unfortunately it is fine margins and sometimes we’ll come out on top and you don’t talk about it, but when you miss out it’s spoken about more.

“The squad will all tell you that they are disappointed we didn’t finish in a better position but it just shows how competitive the squad are and how they want to win things so it’s an exciting next few years for Scottish rugby.”

Injury meant Hutchinson was forced to watch from the stands as Saints demolished a second-string Gloucester side 90-0 last weekend, running in 14 tries in the process. 

He admits it might not have been the best preparation for huge games coming up in the play-offs, but he was impressed by his team-mates application in such a one-sided contest. 

He continued: "I thought I would be pushing to be fit for that but the medical team have been good looking after me and making sure I have a decent amount of volume through the week so it was probably the right decision.

Scotland Rugby News: Rory Hutchinson in action for NorthamptonRory Hutchinson in action for Northampton (Image: SNS)

"Gloucester probably didn’t field their strongest team but I felt like we didn’t fall into that. There’s occasions where you can fall into a scrappy game but we put our best version of ourselves out there and it was a good game for us.

“Personally I’d prefer a more exciting, tighter game but for a Saints fan they’d have loved it. It’s not like it’s our last game before we go into knockout rugby, we still have another game to go so we’re going to put our best foot forward."

Before any thoughts of Scotland resurface, Hutchinson is focusing on trying to end Northampton's long wait for a trophy. 

He added: “At the start of the season we said we wanted to finish in the top two.

"We’ve guaranteed top two but not top spot so we still have a bit to play for at the weekend.

"I’m excited to see what happens but there’s a few games still to go and we’ll just take it week by week.

“We believe we can get to the final and go on and win it."