Scotland international Scott Murray believes increased competition for places at all professional levels is the key to the continued improvement of the national team.
The 30-year-old was first capped at the age of 21 against Australia in 1997 before making his RBS 6 Nations debut two years later.
The Edinburgh Gunners back-row forward has been a virtual ever-present in the Scotland team since then.
But fellow locks such as Alastair Kellock and Scott MacLeod are also looking for a berth in head coach Frank Hadden’s team with the World Cup on the horizon next year.
However, Murray, who is the Scots’ most-capped forward with 76 appearances, is relishing the chance to prove himself worthy of a dark blue jersey in the Autumn Test series next month.
He said: "There is more competition for places at both club and international level than there has been for a long time and that has to be good for Scottish rugby.
"The strength of Edinburgh this year is that the young guys have stepped up and played really well, which has given us older players a lot to think about.
"And I think that is going to be the same for Scotland when the international season gets under way next month."
Having been dropped for the second of Scotland’s two Test matches in South Africa during the summer, Murray knows from experience there are no sacred cows in the national team.
He added: "To be honest, I think the reason I was dropped was because of the line-outs.
"I didn’t think I was performing badly, I thought my defence and my game in general was not that bad at all, but, because the line-out was not going well, they had to do something about it.
"As Frank told me at the time, he already knows what he can get from me, but also needs to know what he can get from guys like Al Kellock and Scott MacLeod.
"That is especially important with the World Cup just around the corner, because there is no way anyone in the squad can play all of the games."