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
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.