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Ex-Wallaby Dempsey racing the clock to make Scotland debut

Glasgow Warriors' Jack Dempsey is tackled by Curwin Bosch (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Former Wallaby Jack Dempsey looks to be winning his battle with a rib injury and could be in line to face his old team as a Scotland Test debutant at Murrayfield.


And the 14-time capped Australia back rower Dempsey has been given a big vote of confidence in his new quest by the man who used to help coach him at the Waratahs.

Welshman Steve Tandy, Scotland’s defence coach, is a big fan of the 28-year-old after working with him in Sydney and reckons Dempsey will take his fresh adventure in Saturday’s Test in his stride if he earns selection in the team set to be announced on Thursday.

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What may count against Dempsey is that he’s been out of competitive action since the start of the month with a rib injury sustained on duty with Glasgow Warriors against the Ospreys, but he came through full training with no problems on Tuesday.

Admitting it would be “some story” if Dempsey was to make his Scotland debut against the country of his birth after making the switch through World Rugby’s new international eligibility rules, Tandy tipped his old charge to cope with the limelight admirably.

“These events are massive and for Jack it will be maybe a little bit bigger than normal, but he’s played in big games before, and I think his form has been outstanding,” said Tandy.

“Jack was just great to work with. Really engaging and just a really good rugby player. He’s been unbelievable for Glasgow and in the way he’s really taken to rugby in this hemisphere.


“He’s explosive and powerful so we’re really happy to have him part of our group.

Meanwhile, Blair Kinghorn, who looks set to inherit the Scotland No.10 shirt from the mercurial Finn Russell for the Wallabies clash, is being tipped to handle the responsibility of following a hard act.

Kinghorn only converted to fly-half last year, but his Edinburgh teammate Grant Gilchrist said: “I see Blair day in and day out, and I see the growth in his game at 10. He’s one of the most influential players and characters in our squad at Edinburgh.

“We rely on him heavily and I know what he can bring. I’ve no doubt in his ability to lead the attack and boss the game as a 10. His ability speaks for itself.”


Scotland have won their last three meetings with Australia, including a 15-13 victory at Murrayfield last November, but Gilchrist warned: “I’m sure they’ll be gunning for us.

“That feeling of they owe us one, we have to make sure we’re ready for that. We’ve had exceptional performances against them but they’re a top-class team with top-class coaches.

“We’re under no illusions – it has to be our best performance.”


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