Scotland fans are shocked that Gregor Townsend has not opted to call up Richie Gray after Exeter lock Sam Skinner was ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury sustained last weekend.
Glasgow Warriors’ Tim Swinson has been called upon instead, leaving many fans questioning what the former British and Irish Lion has to do to be noticed by Townsend.
A few eyebrows were raised when the Toulouse forward Gray was initially excluded from Scotland’s World Cup training squad, but many could understand the rationale behind such a decision. The 30-year-old has been seriously hampered by injuries over the past few years and his form subsequently dropped.
However, with the Top 14 season still ongoing when the training squad was announced, some thought Gray was being given a chance to prove his fitness. Although he did not always start ahead of Joe Tekori or Riche Arnold, Gray won the French league with Toulouse and started against Bordeaux in the first game of their new season last Saturday.
Although it is unlikely that Gray will reach the form that he showed at the beginning of the decade, the fans feel that he should be picked ahead of Swinson if he is fully fit. Although the 38-cap Swinson is a fine player, the 6ft 9in Gray has proved in the past that he is one of the best locks in the game on his day.
Amid criticism in Scotland that Richie Gray isn't involved for World Cup, Gregor Townsend's management insist they are not to blamehttps://t.co/V92TvBHWHY
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 27, 2019
Scotland have claimed it was Gray’s own wish to be excluded for the World Cup, but some fans on Twitter feel there must be something going on between Gray and Townsend for the head coach to persistently overlook the 62-cap veteran.
While it was a shock that he initially did not make the training squad, the fact that he was not the next option at lock has baffled many. This is what has been said:
And not Richie Gray? What’s he done wrong?
— John R Campbell (@JohnRCampbell2) August 27, 2019
Did Richie Gray insult Tooney? Boggle my mind he is not included
— Theo Wilson (@theow45) August 27, 2019
I’m surprised that Richie Gray hasn’t been called up? Would love to know what the story is there??
— Dougie Lowe (@dougielowe) August 27, 2019
Mind boggles Ritchie Gray not being asked
— Greg Shand (@GShandy00) August 27, 2019
Still no Richie Gray is a joke https://t.co/aDq9oOR4Kn
— Blair Wilkie (@blair_shuffle) August 27, 2019
— SyKoro72 (@sykoro72) August 27, 2019
Serious questions need to be asked of Gregor Townsend's selection policies following Sam Skinner being ruled out. Surely Richie Gray should be called up & not Swinson. Swinson is decent but he's not in the class of Gray. Same applies with Duncy Weir's omission from original squad
— Neil Macdougall ?????????????? (@DougallChops) August 27, 2019
What about the France’s champion Richie Gray????? I’ve nothing against Tim I’m a Warriors fan but it’s pure bogging for Richie.
— ???????Alisdaire14??????? (@Alisdaire14) August 27, 2019
While some have speculated that playing in France has hampered Gray’s chances of playing for Scotland, it is clear that the die has been cast regarding the possibility of him making the World Cup.
Whether he will play for Scotland again under Townsend is to be seen, but he won’t be travelling to Japan next month unless there is another injury.
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