Grant Gilchrist’s nervous wait as Cotter weighs options

GRANT Gilchrist hopes no news may be good news as he waits to learn if he will make Scotland’s World Cup squad.

Grant Gilchrist: "So many options for coaches". Picture: SNS/SRU
Grant Gilchrist: "So many options for coaches". Picture: SNS/SRU
Grant Gilchrist: "So many options for coaches". Picture: SNS/SRU

The Edinburgh lock and the rest of the squad are expected to be informed by today by head coach Vern Cotter on whether they have made his 31-man squad for next month’s tournament.

Details of the Kiwi’s selection will not be announced until tomorrow, at a glitzy event staged at Edinburgh University’s historic Old College Quad.

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But with the players not making the cut expected to be informed first, Gilchrist admits he will be hoping his phone does not ring too soon.

Gilchrist, who returned to Scotland’s line-up on Saturday – as they beat Italy 48-7 – after missing out through illness in Turin last week said: “Obviously, I’m hopeful of making the squad but there are a lot of great guys in my position. There is a lot of competition.

“I’d like to think though that I’ve done enough to make the 31 but I’ll have to wait and see along with all the other guys. That’s the great thing about this squad. There are so many options that the coaches are going to have a really difficult decision on their hands.

“Vern has said he will be in touch with people It will be done by phone call I imagine, so it will be a nervy wait.

“I don’t know if a phone call is a bad thing maybe. If you don’t hear anything it might not be a bad thing, because I’m as nervy as the other 40-odd guys to go to the World Cup.

“It’s a dream for all of us to make the squad and represent Scotland on this massive stage but the sad reality is that the chance won’t be there for everyone.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do while I wait for the news. I’m a bit sore after Saturday’s match with Italy so I’ll probably just put my feet up and rest. Maybe I’ll go out and see a bit of the festival to take my mind off it.

“It will be an anxious wait and I’ll be keeping everything crossed I make it. If I do hear anything, hopefully it will be good news.”

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Gilchrist was relieved to get another chance to prove himself to Cotter ahead of the tournament during Saturday’s thrashing of the Italians after he was forced to hand back the captain’s armband in Turin last week.

He was due to skipper the side against the Azzurri at the Olympic Stadium but suffered a sickness bug on the day of the game, ruling him out of the 16-12 win.

It was another blow to the 25-year-old after a broken arm cost him the chance of leading the team out during last year’s autumn Tests.

“It was disappointing to miss out on leading the team out in Turin,” said Gilchrist.

“The illness struck on the day of the game and I was starting to think I was cursed after missing out in the autumn with my arm. But it was great to get out there on Saturday in front of such an amazing crowd.

“We were obviously delighted with the result but in this instance we are keeping our feet on the ground. This was only a warm-up game and nothing has been achieved yet.

“Winning is great but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve won two games, which is brilliant, but there will be things we still have to improve on.”

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has already named his 31-man squad but he admitted he was concerned by his side’s meek surrender at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

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The Frenchman said: “We performed pretty well one week ago and today we gave away three interception tries and had a huge lack of possession. This is what scares me the most.

“I don’t understand how we can change so much, one week to the other. One week ago we built up long playing sequences and today we could barely keep the ball for two. I have no doubt we will sort out the issues we saw today. I think it’s been a very bad day.

“We will need to go into the next week with a positive approach, otherwise the Rugby World Cup will be tough.

“We took to the field without intensity from the beginning and even on the few occasions when we had possession of the ball we lost it after one or two phases.

“In Turin we had built up but we achieved very little today and could not build offensive sequences.

“The first goal for us will be getting our confidence back.”

Italy skipper Leonardo Ghilardini added: “It is a shattering defeat, especially the change of approach to the match we had.

“In the first half we conceded a lot of penalties from scrums.

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“We will have to talk to the referee to understand what happened and why we were never able to get used to what he was looking for.”