Grant Gilchrist’s glee at captaining Scotland

Grant Gilchrist
Grant Gilchrist
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Grant Gilchrist revealed his delight today after Scotland head coach Vern Cotter took the surprising step of naming the Edinburgh lock as his captain for the Test against Argentina tomorrow.

The 23-year-old has been handed the role despite having played only six Tests and never having captained his club.

Gilchrist said: “It’s a huge honour, one I’m really looking forward to.

“For me, it’s a boyhood dream. Of course there’s massive responsibility, not just to this team, but to the entire country and Scotland fans throughout the world, but I’m really excited by it.”

Ross Ford, meanwhile, will become the most capped Scotland hooker on 76, overtaking Gordon Bulloch.

Given that most of the team that started last week against Canada returned home after the game, there are inevitably abundant changes, with only four of the starting 15 from the Toronto match able to keep their places.

They are Peter Horne, Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg and Gilchrist, with the quartet joined by another three who were involved off the bench last week in Blair Cowan, Kieran Low and Grayson Hart. The seven are joined in the starting line-up for the tussle in Cordoba by eight players that flew directly to Argentina from Scotland.

While there are no new caps, three of the side, Hart at scrum-half, Low out of position at No. 8, and Jonny Gray at lock, will be making their first international starts.

For Cotter, it was important to create as much continuity as he could by using as many players as possible from the first part of the tour, and that included the choice of making Gilchrist captain.

“He has impressed me with his leadership qualities,” Cotter said.

“He’s already calling the line-outs and he’s been part of this tour right from the outset, which is important for continuity from the first two games. He leads by example. Some captains are more at ease talking and organising whereas Gilcho [Gilchrist] is more adept at just getting on with it.”

Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); S Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), N De Luca (Edinburgh), P Horne (Glasgow Warriors), T Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); D Weir (Glasgow Warriors), G Hart (Edinburgh); A Dickinson (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Cross (Glasgow Warriors), J Gray (Glasgow Warriors), G Gilchrist (captain, Edinburgh), R Harley (Glasgow Warriors), B Cowan (London Irish), K Low (London Irish). Replacements: P MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), G Reid (Glasgow Warriors), J Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), T Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), C Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), H Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), T Heathcote (Edinburgh), D Fife (Edinburgh).