Glasgow Warrior Jonny Gray has recovered from a summer of setbacks and he is in the mood to make this autumn one to remember.

A lengthy lay-off at the beginning of this season was a new experience for a player who has established himself as one of rugby’s most reliable performers.

But the 23-year-old returned to action sooner than had initially been expected following wrist surgery and has, equally typically, sought to make the very most of what opportunity the time out provided.

That included watching how leading performers in other sports including cycling and American Football set about their work and he clearly drew inspiration from doing so.

“It was great to sit down with the coaches and they said ‘look, you have this length of time, take advantage of it’,” he explained.

“At times I wanted to get back straight away and train, but they held me back and told me to go away and look at different sports – the Tour de France, some NFL stuff – it is good to just try different things and look at my own game.

“Across the board you see the depth of training people do and the time they set aside for things. In the NFL these big guys move so fast in a short space of time while the Tour de France is all about endurance, nutrition and sleep.

“I will always have improvements to make, but it is great to have the quality of people we have at Glasgow and Scotland helping me along, you can speak to them any time and they are very honest.

“I did a lot of lineout work and we stripped it right back even without a ball to get the jumping sorted, it is stuff you don’t get to do all the time as you are working on team or unit skills.

“I also had the pleasure of working with Hoggy (Stuart Hogg). It was great, lots of defending one on one with a guy of his stepping abilities and when I was attacking him he was telling me things to try.

“You don’t normally get that time so it was good to work with someone of his quality. It was a lot of fun doing a lot of skills, but it is great to be back. If you miss any game you feel like you are missing out.”

Gray’s injury was part of a series of disappointments across the summer. Those had begun when he was widely tipped to tour with the British & Irish Lions but missed out on selection.They then continued when he was part of a Scotland team that ended its tour on a low note with defeat in Fiji after a fine win against Australia the previous week. Then, to round things off, he then lost the Glasgow Warriors captaincy he had held for the previous two seasons, partly as a result of his injury.

Yet none of those apparent setbacks have diminished the gratitude he feels for being in the position he is in.

“I’ve said before that I never thought I’d be a professional rugby player if I’m being honest and it’s down to the people I’ve had around me and the people who pushed me,” he said.

“Being honest, if you get picked for the Lions it would be the pinnacle of anyone’s career, so to have my name thrown in the mix with world class second-rows was good, but I didn’t expect to be picked.”