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Gilchrist wants World Cup berth

Grant Gilchrist admits he would love another shot at the Scotland captaincy - but only after he has proved he is worth a slot in Vern Cotter's World Cup line-up.

The giant Edinburgh lock was set to skipper his nation for the first time during last year's autumn internationals.

But a broken arm suffered on duty for his club side in a European clash with Lyon cost him his leadership chance - leaving Greig Laidlaw to skipper the side during the RBS 6 Nations.

The 25-year-old's injury was complicated by further set-backs which eventually ruled him out for 10 months.

He finally made his Test comeback in Saturday's 28-22 defeat to Ireland in Dublin but it was Glasgow scrum-half Henry Pyrgos who was named captain at the Aviva Stadium.

Gilchrist, though, showed little rustiness and now wants to show he is good enough for a slot in the 31-man squad which will travel to England next month.

Asked if he was ready to take on the captaincy once again, the eight-cap forward told Press Association Sport: "It's not something I'm thinking about too much. I want to do everything I can for this team. But I want to be part of this team first and foremost.

"I want to make the 31 and If I can add leadership to the group during the World Cup I would be more than keen to do that.

"But my first aim is just to get back to my best and that is what will really help the team."

Gilchrist sat out the Dark Blues' nightmare Six Nations whitewash as well as Edinburgh's run to the European Challenge Cup final during his long recovery stint.

But he admits it was the fear of missing out on the World Cup which left him most concerned.

"It's been a long time out, almost 10 months but it was absolutely brilliant to be back out there with the boys at the weekend," he said. "I always had it in my head that I was going to get a chance to play before the World Cup and have that chance to put my head up and prove I could repeat what I was doing 10 months ago.

"I wanted to show I was the same player I was the last time I played for Scotland and if anything, I'm even more hungry to be involved in the World Cup.

"But it was a difficult time. The bit in the middle where things went wrong was a dark time.

"It was a double whammy after the initial injury. I got to January/February time and went to see a different specialist who told me I had to have a second op.

"That was when alarm bells started ringing because things would be getting tight for the World Cup.

"If this second op didn't go exactly to plan I would miss the tournament straight up. That was a shock to hear.

"But thankfully the procedure went really well. I had a scan at 10 weeks and I've never been so nervous but I got a lot of confidence when I was told it had all healed. As soon as I got the all-clear I could concentrate on getting my rugby back up to scratch.

"At times I was a bit rusty on Saturday but it's a starting point for me. After 10 months out I'm now looking to take the level of my game up a few levels."

While Gilchrist was impressing in Dublin - particularly at the line-out - there was alarm for prop Ryan Grant as he suffered an ankle injury.

X-rays have confirmed the Glasgow front-rower has not suffered a break but Scotland medics have now booked him in for a scan later this week before ruling him in or out of the World Cup.

"It's horrible to see anyone pick up an injury but hopefully Granty's isn't too bad," added Gilchrist. "I've got my fingers crossed for him that he will be back quickly."

Glasgow hooker Kevin Bryce has joined the squad amid injury concerns over Fraser Brown.

The Scotland medical team reported Brown was experiencing "mild hamstring discomfort" which saw 26-year-old Bryce called up ahead of Saturday's warm-up game against Italy in Turin.

Bryce has two Scotland caps, both won during last year's summer tour, against Canada and South Africa.

Prop Jon Welsh suffered concussion but he is now symptom-free while Hugh Blake trained on Monday despite dislocating a finger during Saturday's defeat by Ireland.


From Belfast Telegraph