Bristol Rugby's Kyle Traynor delighted to be back in Scotland frame
KYLE Traynor has paid tribute to Bristol for the role they have played in helping him earn a Scotland recall, three years after he won his last caps for his country.
The 26-year-old left Edinburgh for Bristol in the summer – and was yesterday named in Scotland's 34-man squad for their forthcoming Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga.
The loosehead prop won three caps for Scotland in November 2009, when he featured against Fiji, Australia and Argentina, and believes moving south has helped his international prospects.
"It was nice to get the call to join the national squad – it's always a nice feeling, so I'm very happy," said Traynor. "Whether I play during the forthcoming Tests is out of my hands, but I'll train hard and see what happens.
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"I think moving down here has actually promoted my chances of playing for Scotland. I've come down here and had a fresh opportunity, and Bristol has been great for me – it has enabled me to kick on.
"I'm fortunate that the (Scotland) coaches have watched quite a few of my games and they believe that I've done enough to be involved.
"I love playing for Bristol and I'm very proud to represent the club. I really hope I can be part of something to help move the club forward this season.
"When something like this comes along, it's testament to the hard work the coaches have put in to improving me since I've been here. I owe a lot to them for that."
Traynor will join up with the Scotland squad on Monday, after playing for Bristol against Bedford on Sunday, and the club's head coach Liam Middleton believes the front-rower's call-up is fully deserved.
"I'm really pleased for Kyle, because he's fitted in very well here – he's been a great signing for us," said Middleton.
"He's played very well – and in the last block of six games he was our top defender. He made the most tackles and had the highest tackle completion rate. He's got a good set-piece and good defence, but he can also handle and he can run.
"I'm really chuffed he's been called into that squad – it's a great accolade for any player, but to do it out of the Championship is very impressive."
Middleton could now lose Traynor for games against Nottingham and Jersey – but said Bristol would always support their players' ambitions of playing Test rugby.
"They will always come back a little bit better, too," said Middleton. "It doesn't matter how good you are, if you play international games or go into international camps, you will come back a better player."
Middleton, meanwhile, is waiting on confirmation of the extent of the knee injury suffered by Bryan Rennie at the weekend, amid fears he could miss the remainder of the season.
The centre was signed from Exeter in the summer but has made only two appearances this season, having suffered a shoulder injury in a pre-season match.
He damaged his knee eight minutes into Sunday's 34-28 British & Irish Cup win over Ulster Ravens – and Middleton said: "It's a significant injury. He's seeing a specialist in the next couple of days and it's then that we'll have a clear idea.
"It's a big blow for him. He's a quality performer and, unfortunately, our supporters haven't yet been able to experience what impact he can have on a team."