Scotland centre Nick De Luca insists his first taste of international rugby was not a negative experience.
The Dumfries-born star came into the Scotland side at the start of the RBS 6 Nations with great expectations on his shoulders after a fabulous first half of the season with Edinburgh.
But he endured a disappointing debut against France and fared little better against Ireland before picking up a couple of injuries which ruled him out of the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations.
The 24-year-old is relishing the start of the new season after finishing the last campaign on a high.
De Luca said: “I’m sure some people will say that the RBS 6 Nations was a negative experience for me. But because it was such a tough time I’ve grown hugely as a player.
“I believe my game has improved 10-fold as a result of that experience and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Hopefully if I get another go against the world’s best in the Autumn then I’ll be able to prove that.
“I was aware that the Celtic League team was being voted for and that was going to be my goal for next season. I was thinking; I would love to be in that having looked at the players that were in it.
“So to be named in the Celtic League team of the season a year early was a great honour. It was voted for by the fans and the press of all three countries, so it was a real boost for me to get at the end of the season.”