The news that Richie Gray will miss Saturday’s Six Nations opener in Cardiff and remain in Toulouse to have a calf problem treated came as a double blow for one member of the squad.
As well as being a loss for Scotland, Jonny Gray was saddened not to catch up with his big brother.
“Absolutely gutted for him. I miss him,” said the 23-year-old Glasgow player of his sibling and fellow lock’s injury setback.
“It would be great to have him here and it’s been a while since we’ve seen him and we hope he’ll be back soon. I don’t think it’s something too serious.He’ll be back sooner rather than later.
“I didn’t see him at Christmas. We speak to each other once a week. I just texted him there. Maybe shouldn’t have mentioned that.
“I miss Rich, he’s a great guy and, as a rugby player, it’s great to have him about, training and working with him and getting his ideas. He’s not too far away on the phone.
“He’s always available to speak about different things. He’s got a lot of information as well, and he gets it from us as well for when he comes back in.”
The Gray brothers have packed down together in the Scotland engine room many a time, but Jonny will be alongside one of the Edinburgh pair Grant Gilchrist or Ben Toolis when the Six Nations kicks off.
That is something he has got used to in the summer tour and autumn series and is enjoying working with them again.
“They’re both great players. Slightly different styles and strengths,” said Gray. “It’s great to speak to them and get different ideas and ways of doing things. Good to hear how Edinburgh do it, how Toulouse do it from Rich. Knowing things like that can make you a better player, obviously.”
Gray said that the intensity in camp was now rising as game week gets moving.
“It’s massively exciting, there’s a huge buzz and it’s been like that since training last week,” said Gray. “First game up against Wales, it’s such a special place. I’ve been fortunate enough to play there once and it was an incredible atmosphere. Everyone’s excited but we know how tough it’s going to be. The Welsh clubs have been playing well in Europe and, after how they played during the autumn Tests, we realise what a challenge it’s going to be. It’s a huge game. When you look at the tournament, the places you get to go, every venue’s very special. Wales is slightly different. You look at the atmosphere there and the crowds, how passionate their supporters are.”
Warren Gatland is due to name his team at noon today, with Scotland boss Gregor Townsend following suit 24 hours later. Both squads have been hit by injury, but Gray said: “We’ve not spoken about it at all. Every squad has injuries and it’s just something you have to deal with. But you look at the depth they have in Wales, the guys they have.
“I personally watched Scarlets against Toulon, and they were unbelievable up front and their back runners are very dangerous.”