Grant Gilchrist has urged former Scotland youth team colleague Michael Tait to grab any chance of a permanent contract at Edinburgh Rugby – starting in tonight’s RaboDirect Pro 12 clash with Newport Gwent Dragons at Murrayfield.
Tait, the 23-year-old son of cross-code legend Alan, has arrived from Newcastle Falcons on a month’s trial and immediately goes on the bench to cover his father’s old positions of centre and wing.
As well as knowing Tait’s pedigree, Gilchrist, a second row who will make his 50th Edinburgh appearance against the Dragons, knows that opportunity knocks for his ex-team mate and that openings exist.
Gilchrist, who started out with Edinburgh in 2011 and took his Scotland cap tally to three on the summer tour of South Africa, said: “Michael Tait was in the same Scotland age group as me at under-18 and under-19 before he got injured.
“He is a good rugby player and, although I’ve not seen him play in a few years, it’s exciting he is at Edinburgh.
“We are desperately light in midfield due to injuries so hopefully he can do a job for us in that area.”
Where Edinburgh will need to be on guard, says Gilchrist, is in dealing with recent Murrayfield favourite Netani Talei, who gets a first start for Dragons after coming off the bench in their opening success against Ulster.
“We really need to keep our defensive shape too contain Netani,” he said.
“We know how dangerous he can be given time and space so in looking to shut him down we’ll work on double hits in defence. Netani certainly is a man you would want to use two tackles on.
“If you go one-on-one you can see the damage he has done for us and he’ll be well motivated tonight, that’s for sure.”
Gilchrist’s summer tour was highlighted by a first win in national colours and he is now ready to start passing on some experience.
“I learned a lot from being out in South Africa playing against Samoa and Italy, whom we beat in the last minute,” he said.
“I’m always trying to work on my game but I also want to take a bit more responsibility as a capped player.
“Everybody is grateful for a home game. Let’s get it started with a win and try to set our stall out so that when teams come to Murrayfield it is a horrible place for them.”