Scotland tour of Argentina: Grant Gilchrist on captaincy, World Cup planning, new leaders and Kinghorn at 10

Grant Gilchrist will captain Scotland on their three-Test tour of Argentina. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Grant Gilchrist will captain Scotland on their three-Test tour of Argentina. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

They will then head over the border to Argentina the place a slice of rugby historical past can be made. Never earlier than have Scotland performed a three-Test tour towards one of many main nations and the subsequent 4 weeks are possible to offer head coach Gregor Townsend with lots to chew over as he assesses his choices forward of subsequent yr’s World Cup in France.

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In the absence of Stuart Hogg, Gilchrist will skipper Scotland in Argentina, a task he has carried out earlier than, however the Edinburgh lock mentioned he was trying no additional than this tour when it comes to the captaincy.

“It is a huge honour to be asked to captain this squad in a three-Test series,” mentioned Gilchrist. “I’ve never played a three-Test series before so to be asked to lead a young group like this is awesome for me.

“I’m not going to look beyond this tour and making sure that individually and collectively we put the right foot forward. What happens beyond that won’t be up to me.”

Pierre Schoeman and Grant Gilchrist throughout a Scotland coaching session at Oriam. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

It was Scotland’s poorest exhibiting within the championship since 2019 and gave gamers and administration pause for thought forward of a World Cup which is able to see Scotland battling it out with South Africa, Ireland, Romania and most likely Tonga in Pool B for 2 obtainable quarter-final locations.

Though happy with elements of Scotland’s play within the Six Nations, Gilchrist thought an excessive amount of of it was within the fallacious components of the pitch.

“We played a lot of good rugby in our own half, so we ended up making linebreaks and putting good phases together but we were doing it on our own 10 metre line and not making anything from it,” he mentioned. “So we need to get our kicking game, and our kick-chase game, going.

“The other one that stands out is discipline. We gave away too many penalties, which again invites [opposition] into your own half. We need to look at ways in which we can play our rugby in the opposition’s half. I think if we do that all the positives are there from the Six Nations – they just weren’t in the right areas so didn’t lead to tries.

Blair Kinghorn has impressed for Edinburgh since converting to a stand-off. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“We’re going to take on a lot of learnings from the Six Nations. What things we did well and what things we need to improve on. We start our road to the World Cup as of this tour and it’s quite obvious that getting a Test series win in Argentina would be a huge boost going into the autumn, playing back at Murrayfield with that momentum behind us.”

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With Hogg, Russell and Harris left at dwelling and Jamie Ritchie out via harm, Scotland are lacking numerous expertise and Gilchrist will lean on the likes of Mark Bennett and Hamish Watson for assist.

“We’re giving loads of guys opportunities to lead,” he mentioned. “From the more experienced guys we’ve got Mark Bennett, who’s got vast experience at Test level and has played at the Olympics as well. And we have Mish, who’s a Lion and usually shows quiet leadership and we’re asking a lot more from guys like that and they’re responding brilliantly.

Gilchrist said he would look to experienced players like Mark Bennett to help with leadership. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“From the younger lads, I know Rory Darge speaks really well and has got great leadership potential. I knew that from when he was a young lad at Edinburgh. He’s got an old head on young shoulders and he’s somebody who will develop into a leader.

“There will be others who will emerge from this tour and that’s part of the excitement of it. Especially in the first week they’re going to get opportunities to pull on the jersey and they’ll have to stand up and lead.”

Much may even be anticipated of Blair Kinghorn. One yr in to his conversion from back-three participant to stand-off, the Edinburgh 10 can be tasked with working the sport in a Test collection.

Kinghorn was chosen forward of Russell within the ultimate match of the Six Nations towards Ireland and Gilchrist noticed sufficient in Dublin and over the course of the marketing campaign with Edinburgh to persuade him that his club-mate has the mentality and tactical nous to deal with the duty.

“I’ve been so impressed with Blair this season,” mentioned the second row. “The way he was taking control of our attack shows he’s got both sides to his game, he really thinks about the game.

“This is a tour for him to stand up and lead as well. I’ve seen him do it for Edinburgh all season. He’s been outstanding in the way he’s led and the way he’s played. You see the flashy moments but he’s putting in the work off the pitch and on the pitch to develop all the parts he needs to control the game.

“I still think he did a lot of things really well in the game in Dublin. I think that in any position, but particularly those game-controller positions of halfback and ten, they tend to need a bit of time in the saddle to get used to it.”

Tour itinerary

June 25: Chile v Scotland A (Santiago, 9pm). TV: dwell on Premier Sports

July 2: Argentina v Scotland (Jujuy, 8.10pm). TV: dwell on Sky Sports

July 9: Argentina v Scotland (Salta, 8.10pm). TV: dwell on Sky Sports

July 16: Argentina v Scotland (Santiago del Estero, 8.10pm). TV: dwell on Sky Sports

All instances BST

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