Versatile Paterson at home at number 10
February 2, 2000
Proud Scot Chris Paterson will pull on another international jersey on Friday, puff out his chest and attempt to prove he is worthy of the reputation which has been bestowed on him.
At 21, Paterson is leading the new breed of Scotland internationals eager to carry on the mantel of Andy Irvine, Gavin Hastings and Gregor Townsend.
Seen by most pundits as the natural successor to Townsend at fly-half, Paterson has had his head spinning over the last 12 months at the variety of positions and teams he has been turning out for.
Stand-off for Gala, centre for Edinburgh Reivers, full-back for Scotland. Paterson has tried them all and been a success each time.
The arrival of Jason Tamati Hita at the Reivers today could see Paterson shunted around again.
But for now the Edinburgh-born player, who made his international debut against Spain in the recent World Cup, is happy to be back in the position he favours stand-off for Scotland A against Italy tomorrow.
"I have yet to prove at any level other than club that I can play stand-off," he said.
"Once you get into open play the number on the back of your shirt doesn't matter a great deal.
"Initially, it was quite difficult switching positions all the time. But the more you play the more you get used to it, and I find it quite easy now.
"I would much prefer to play in any position rather than sit on the bench but I am looking forward to Friday."
Nephew of former Scottish international Duncan, Paterson has become used to the predictions of a bright future which reached a crescendo when he scored all Gala's points in their 8-3 Scottish Cup Final victory over Kelso at Murrayfield last season.
His performances won him a professional contract with the Reivers, from where he was plunged into the Scotland World Cup squad.
Both Scotland coach Ian McGeechan and A team counterpart Graham Hogg have expressed their desire for Paterson to be picked at stand-off and stay there, such is their faith in the youngster.
"All the words tend to go in one ear and straight out the other side," said Paterson.
"I have to perform at the highest level I can regardless of what people say.
"As a professional sportsman you are judged on your performances from one week to the next, not on the player people say you are."
His first year with the Reivers has been an educational one.
While the Super District have generally struggled to adapt to the weekly intensity of the new Welsh-Scottish League, Paterson has been learning the disciplines of daily training.
He admits the transition has been tough.
"At Gala last season we were winning matches and playing mostly running rugby," he said.
"This year with the Reivers we have not performed too well, and physically training every day takes its toll.
"My whole lifestyle has changed this year, and rugby is now the focus of my life rather than just for 90 minutes during training on a Tuesday and Thursday.
"It is hard to maintain your discipline, but that is what you have to do if you are going to become an international player."