Scotland scrum-half Ben White is relishing his time in the number nine jersey ahead of the final two rounds of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.
White has cemented himself as Gregor Townsend’s first-choice nine ahead of George Horne and the experienced Ali Price just a year into his international career.
The 24-year-old has impressed in all three of Scotland’s matches so far, dictating play from half-back and even crossing the whitewash in his side’s historic win over England at Twickenham.
And having hit his stride at international level, White is hoping to continue his strong vein of form as Scotland look to finish their Championship strongly against Ireland and Italy.
“It’s been a huge honour to get to pull on the nine jersey for Scotland in the first three games,” said White.
“I thank Gregor a lot for the trust he’s shown in me, and I hope I can repay that.
“I love being out there, I love every minute of it. It’s amazing; you have to pinch yourself sometimes when you’re out there on the pitch.
“I just want to keep improving my game and keep moving forward every week.”
“You always have good players around you pushing you on and you have to be at the top of your game every week to keep the shirt.
“Having that competition is only going to drive us on to be better as individuals and then collectively as a team.
“It’s good having that competition in training, knowing you have to be on your game. I love the challenge; I love the competition.”
White impressed once more as Scotland narrowly lost 32-21 to France in Paris, coming within four points of levelling in a frenetic second half before Gael Fickou secured victory for the hosts.
Scotland were 19-0 down inside 20 minutes but fought back through two tries from Huw Jones and another from Finn Russell to show they can go toe-to-toe with the reigning Grand Slam champions.
Despite defeat, White is determined to take the positives ahead of the visit of unbeaten Ireland to BT Murrayfield, with the chance to seal the Triple Crown at stake for Scotland.
“I thought we showed a lot of courage to come back from being 19-0 down and give ourselves a chance to win at the end,” he added.
“I’m really proud of the performance in terms of how we stayed together as a group after the early red card.
“It could have gone completely the other way, but we dug our heels in and grew back into the game.
“I thought we played some really good rugby. I felt France were there for the taking in the second half.
“We had them on the ropes, but we just weren’t able to capitalise on that opportunity, which is frustrating but it’s also good to know we missed chances to take the game against a side ranked number two in the world. It shows we’re there and thereabouts.”
Ireland will arrive in Edinburgh to face a Scotland side transformed from the one that was beaten 26-5 in Dublin last year.
White is one of a number of changes from that day that have revitalised Townsend’s team, with centre pairing Jones and Sione Tuipulotu also impressing.
The scrum-half admitted his side know they are fully capable of going all the way for the first time this century and backed the roar of the home crowd to help them past the world number one side.
“We have a lot of belief that we can win the Championship,” said White.
“Being back at Murrayfield with our fans behind us is something we’re really excited about and the challenge of playing Ireland for the Triple Crown is awesome.
“We’re a good team and we’re confident in our ability so we’re really excited.”