Johnson tips Gilchrist to star on tour

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Scotland rugby coach Scott Johnson is tipping Edinburgh second row Grant Gilchrist to be one of the stars of the upcoming quadrangular tournament in South Africa.

The Scots head off later this month for an event featuring the hosts, Samoa and Italy with Gilchrist keen to build on a debut cap against France at the end of the RBS Six Nations Championship.

Johnson said: “Grant Gilchrist is a special player. People forget his run up to the French game was absolutely terrible because of missing three or four games with injury. His first real run out was against the French – for a 22 year-old boy that was a big ask.

“There is something good about Gilcho. He is big and abrasive. The (rugby) world watch out . . . If we get him the way we want he will be a special player. This is part of his learning. We are not going to kill him (but) it is a good development.

“We are up against pretty formidable sides but in three or four years’ time, if we get Gilcho right, and this tour is part of it, the world will know who he is.”

Gilchrist is one of eight Edinburgh players selected including Tim Visser whom the coach expects to take on extra responsibility almost a year after the Dutch-born wing qualified on residency. “Tim understands he is not the new kid on the block.

“There will be people around him who are going through what he went through a year ago. Hopefully he will accept that responsibility.”