Cotter hails skipper Gilchrist


Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has hailed Grant Gilchrist as a “born leader” after naming him as captain of a 33-man squad heading into the autumn internationals.

The 24-year-old Edinburgh lock, who twice skippered his country in the summer, including a 21-19 victory over Argentina in Cordoba, will now lead the Scots into battle against Argentina, New Zealand and Tonga next month.

Former skipper Kelly Brown was left out of the squad, which includes 17 players from Glasgow Warriors.

Cotter explained to BBC Radio Scotland the reason for his choice of captain.

He said: “You only have to meet him and talk to him to understand that he is a leader.

“People follow him.

“He likes making decisions, he likes being involved and creating outcomes.

“Even if he is only 24, he shows these qualities, I think he was born a leader and he gets the role.”

Saracens’ flanker Brown responded to his disappointing news on his Twitter account, saying: “Obviously I’m hugely disappointed not to make the Scotland squad, that’s how it goes sometimes. Congrats to the guys chosen #makescotlandproud.”

Gilchrist is joined in the squad by five of his Edinburgh team-mates who are still on a high following their impressive 15-13 win at Bordeaux-Begles in the Challenge Cup on Friday.

However, it is Glasgow Warriors, who emphatically upset much-fancied Bath 37-10 at the Scotstoun Stadium in the Champions Cup on Saturday, whose players dominate the squad.

Mark Bennett scored two tries as the Warriors mauled their Aviva Premiership opponents and he is the only uncapped player included.

Former Clermont Auvergne coach Cotter began his Scotland reign with three consecutive wins over the United States, Canada and Argentina in June before his side slumped to a heavy 55-6 defeat against South Africa in Port Elizabeth last time out.

He will be looking for signs of development this autumn, with a rematch against the Pumas at Murrayfield on November 8, before they face the might of the All Blacks a week later at the same venue and then finish up against Tonga at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, on November 22.

Cotter, who won the Top 14 and Heineken Cup during an eight-year spell with Clermont, will have been boosted by the strong form of both Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as signs that Greig Laidlaw is finding his feet at Gloucester after moving to the English side in the summer.

“We want to develop, and impose, our style, will, and strategy on our opposition. We want to play well, and enjoy playing in front of our home crowd,” he told the official Scottish Rugby website.

“Argentina will offer us a very stern test, especially at scrum time. They have good variety and move the ball well from nine, through the middle of the paddock and out the back.

“The All Blacks have just won the Rugby Championship and are the best team in the world, so we’ll have to be on our toes.”

He added: “Tonga will be the final big test psychologically, having come through two big games, to play away from Murrayfield, and needing to put in a good performance at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.

“It’s essential that we show maturity, mental strength and adaptability throughout the series.”

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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