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Gray eager to kick on

Richie Gray is hoping to justify and build on the plaudits he received in Scotland's autumn campaign as Glasgow meet four-time European champions Toulouse in Heineken Cup Pool Six on Friday night.

The 21-year-old second row delivered performances to match his stature - he stands at 6ft 8in (2.04m) and weighs 19st 9lbs (125kg) - as Scotland beat world champions South Africa and Samoa last month. But not content with those displays, Gray knows he must continue to prove himself at the highest level and is under pressure to perform at Firhill ob Friday night.

Gray told Press Association Sport: "The autumn Tests went reasonably well from a personal point of view. It gives me confidence but there's also a bit of pressure with that. It's really about me trying to build on that, so I'll be feeling a bit of pressure tomorrow (Friday) night."

Warriors head coach Sean Lineen this week described Toulouse - a team who can call on the talents of Thierry Dusautoir and Frederic Michalak - as the All Blacks of the northern hemisphere, but Gray is hoping for a different result to when he made his first Scotland start as New Zealand triumphed 49-3 at Murrayfield last month.

He said: "They are a really classy outfit, with star players right across the board and they do have the ability to play some fantastic rugby. The intensity will be right up there. If you look at the Toulouse team it pretty much is an international outfit.

"But we've been building through the week pretty confidently and we're ready for tomorrow night - it will be a really good occasion."

Glasgow were last in action on November 27, losing 38-6 to Cardiff Blues in the Magners League, with last week's match with Benetton Treviso was postponed. They are boosted by the selection of nine internationals on Friday night.

Gray is joined in the starting XV by fly-half Ruaridh Jackson - scorer of the decisive penalty in Scotland's win over Samoa two weeks' ago - as well as hooker Dougie Hall, prop Moray Low, flanker John Barclay, number eight Richie Vernon and centres Graeme Morrison and Max Evans.

Warriors captain Alastair Kellock missed Scotland's autumn campaign as he stepped up his recovery from knee surgery and will start alongside Gray in the second row.

The match was under threat due to the arctic conditions which have covered Scotland, but after working with landlords Partick Thistle and Glasgow City Council, the Warriors are confident the game will take place.


From Belfast Telegraph