Grant Gilchrist has vowed to help ensure Scotland’s rugby team do not fluff their lines for a second successive week when Australia visit Murrayfield tonight in the concluding viagogo Autumn Test.
The 23-year-old Edinburgh second row is a late promotion from the bench to gain a fourth cap – and the first on his home ground after facing France in Paris and both Samoa and Italy on the summer tour of South Africa.
“I’m really excited about running out at Murrayfield because it is what everybody dreams of as a kid,” says Gilchrist. “However, the real task in hand is to build on my first win in the jersey which came last time out against Italy.”
To ensure that happens, Gilchrist, who once starred in a Stirling County team which beat Musselburgh to claim a Scottish youth title at Murrayfield, knows that the Scots cannot be put on the back foot straightaway as they were against South Africa last weekend.
Adding to the woe was the fact that five of their first six line-outs were surrendered.
“There is a determination in the dressing room to do things right in line-out,” he adds. “It was an area the squad were disappointed in and don’t want it to happen again.
“We have to take ball early and by winning the first few line-outs you can make teams start defending the mauls that come from them.
“Pretty quickly you can make your line-out seem untouchable. It certainly helps if you get the first few right.”
Since returning from tour, Gilchrist has started eight of Edinburgh’s first nine competitive matches and he believes the continuity has helped him put into practice lessons learned through training daily with the senior international squad.
“The run of games helped me but by the end I was feeling a bit battered,” he says. “So, a break while the first two Tests took place allowed me to refresh. Now I am raring to go, especially against one of the southern hemisphere powerhouses.
“I had a taste of rugby in the southern hemisphere in New Zealand on a scholarship a few years ago and always watched the big three from that area when growing up.
“Guys like James Horwill in the Wallabies’ second row are pure quality, but I’ll just concentrate on my own game and try to get stuck in.”
Gilchrist is one of five Edinburgh players in the starting line-up and sharing the task of resolving line-out problems will be hooker Ross Ford and tail gunner Dave Denton.
According to coach Scott Johnson the giant Denton, one of a handful of ever-presents in the autumn series, is growing by the minute into his No. 8 role.
Says Johnson: “What everyone sees (in Denton) is an obvious ball-carrier. What pleases us most is his basic skills have been improving. They needed to and by picking him I am trying to reward effort.
“I think David has come on terrifically. His confidence is higher. I keep going back to his basic skills which have improved dramatically for a position that needs the basic skills.
“I’m really,really happy for the lad. He is starting to develop into a good senior player.”