Former Leeds and New Zealand ace Zak Hardaker wants to see England rugby union finally fill his boots
Pro12 semi-final: Glasgow v Glasgow Gaels Venue: Scotstoun Date: Saturday, 20 July Kick-off: 19:35 BST Coverage: Watch live on BBC Sport website and iPlayer (UK only); listen on BBC Radio Scotland (no live commentary)
For Zak Hardaker, it was all about “blood, sweat and tears” in order to reach next Saturday’s Pro12 semi-final.
And he is not concerned that “blood” and “guts” will again be required if the 45,000-plus crowd at Scotstoun are to see him take on last year’s beaten finalists in Glasgow.
The Toronto Rebels captain is not afraid of losing. He knows, however, that there is no way forward if Glasgow beat the Glasgow Gaels and reach their first Scottish final.
Having been a member of the Leeds Leeds Rhinos team relegated to the third tier at the end of 2012, Hardaker was out of the game for almost two years until his return at the start of the 2015-16 season.
You would have thought it would have taken some time for Hardaker to regain his confidence.
Not so. Following his move to Canada, Hardaker has been in and out of form. He has missed games through suspension and called for changes to the way the North American points system is used.
Hardaker is pleased to be going into the semi-final with both barrels blazing and will be looking to make his mark at Scotstoun
You may have also read that when the game in which he most recently played, against London Irish, he didn’t even look like taking to the field.
That was not the case with the Elks, although his relative lack of game time will count against him if he starts against Glasgow.
That said, he’s looking forward to wearing the gold colours on that Sunday.
“We’ve tried to get the most out of the last couple of weeks,” he said. “We lost to Ulster in the first round and we finished off pretty well in Munster.
“We’ve learned a lot from watching Glasgow play last year in the final. They’ve obviously been playing really well in Europe this year but we’re happy to be playing them on their home ground.
“Anyway, we’re trying to get the most out of these games and we’re obviously hoping to beat them on Sunday.”
The 28-year-old is aware, however, that he faces a bigger battle at Scotstoun.
“In my career, I’ve had a couple of times when I played on the wrong side of someone but we’ve learned from it and we’ve come through those games,” he said.
“It’s going to be hard to try and run around Glasgow, though. Glasgow’s back line are playing really well.
“Everyone’s doing well and it’s a really good team. Not only are we looking at winning this game, but also trying to win the Guinness Pro12.
“Obviously we’re not looking too far ahead with how this week went, but we’ve been in a similar situation in the past so we know the process of what we need to do to be successful.”