World Cup Watch – Richie Gray

by Des Ryan

The incandescent lock is the bright light of a Scottish team that has threatened to break out of its gloom in recent years, and a nation’s hopes appear to rest on the young man’s Olympian shoulders. Richie Gray burst onto the European rugby scene this season, and he will be looking to step it up onto the world stage in the autumn as rank-three Scotland look to capitalise on their fortuitous draw in Group B.

The 21 year old has recently risen through the ranks of underage Scottish rugby, emerging at a very young stage for a front-five player. At 6’ 10” and 20 stone, Gray is the epitome of the modern number four, blending back-row athleticism with second-row gargantuanism. Imagine a combination of Nathan Hynes and Sean O’Brien, but with Devon Toner’s height. To get to the highest level, he will need to run his lineout like Paul O’Connell. We can see the promising Scot here against France displaying strength, pace, vision and determination in both defence and attack.

 

The 2010-11 season has been a roaring success for the Glasgow Warriors player. Not only did he
make his full debut against New Zealand in November, but he was named on many people’s Six
Nations team of the tournament, as well as the Magner’s League Dream Team. Indeed many believe
that Gray will evacuate his cash-starved club when his contract runs out at the end of next season.
There can be no doubt that the young man will be looking to impress suitors in the up-coming
jamboree.

There he will be pitted against the dull duo of England and Argentina. Nobody is expecting sevens
rugby to emerge from this most evenly matched of groups, but there can be no doubt that Scotland
will be targeting both matches as their tickets to the quarter-final. They beat Argentina twice on tour
last season, and their last two matches against England both came down to the wire: 2010 was a
draw, and it took a late penalty from Johnny Wilkinson to see off their 2011 challenge. There can
be no doubt that the young man known as the ‘Tower of Scotland’ will have a big part to play in the
outcome of those games.

Full name: Richard James Gray
Born: August 24, 1989, Rutherglen
Major teams: Glasgow, Scotland
Position: Lock
Height: 6 ft 10 in
Weight: 285 lb

5 Responses

  1. Gareth Evans says:

    It may be too early to be making claims like this, but I’m going to say it anyway; this is the guy that Scotland need to build their team around for the next decade and he is surely a Scotland Captain in waiting.

    I don’t know where they found him, but another couple of forwards like him, a 10 who is world class on a regular basis and some genuine wheels out wide and Scotland will be a very competitive side on the international stage.

    1. Des Ryan says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Gareth.
      Interviews with him would suggest that he has a mature head on his shoulders too.

      My only worry is that there aren’t enough players coming through the Scottish system. Looking at their Under 20s results in this year’s six nations, they lost all their games and had an aggregate score of 16-162!!!

  2. Tom Fox says:

    Nice post. He looks a class act and cu;d maybe slot into a back row too if required? Think Scotland are on the right track and would fancy them to do ok in the World Cup if their backs weren’t so shit and they weren’t in such a tough group.

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