Jonny Gray was turning out for the Scotland Under-20s last year
Scotland lock Jonny Gray admits he has surprised even himself with his meteoric rise for club and country this season.
Gray, 20, is the younger brother of Richie Gray and has won three caps for his country this season including coming off the bench against England in this year's RBS 6 Nations.
Now the second-row's focus is on his form with club side Glasgow Warriors who have a play-off semi-final against Munster to prepare for.
And Gray admits that his rise to prominence this season has made him all the more hungry to finish off the season in style with a league title.
"It's surreal to look back on. I am very lucky with the opportunities I have had - at the start of the season I wouldn't have expected to play this much.
"I'm just very grateful to the coaches and other players that have helped me through.
"Al Kellock has been a massive mentor for me so I owe a lot of thanks to him. It has been a great experience this season.
"We (Glasgow) have gathered a bit of momentum with the last couple of wins but I think it is just the competition that the coaches and the club are trying to install.
"In each position there are three or four guys who can come in and do a pretty good job so we have to be on form every game or else someone else will come in - that's competition and that's healthy.
"I suppose it gives us a bit of confidence but we know how tough it is going to be against Munster. They have got threats all over the park so we need to get our preparations right if we want a chance."
Conor O'Shea's Italy revolution picked up a head of steam when they beat South Africa for the first time in their history in November, but with Europe's finest up ahead in the 2017 RBS 6 Nations, who could make the difference for the Azzurri?