Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
New Zealand New Zealand
France France

Dumfries-born lock Alex Craig making his mark in Wales

By Simon Thomas
Alex Craig of Gloucester Rugby celebrates at the final whistle during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors at Kingsholm Stadium on December 20, 2019 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Alex Craig is an “old school” rugby player enjoying a new lease of life.

The second row’s move to the Scarlets has seen him secure a return to the Scotland squad, with his fine form earning him a call up for the Six Nations.

ADVERTISEMENT

He is certainly a man at the top of his game right now, having produced his best display yet for the Welsh region in last weekend’s dramatic BKT URC victory over Benetton Rugby.

His stats speak for themselves. He put in 19 carries for 34 metres against the Italians, beating nine defenders along the way, while also making 13 tackles and winning four lineouts.

Video Spacer

Jake White previews Leinster versus Bulls at the RDS

Video Spacer

Jake White previews Leinster versus Bulls at the RDS

After five years at Gloucester, he is really making his mark in his new surroundings, having come on board last summer.

Now he will be looking to produce another big display this weekend when he goes up against a number of his Scotland squad colleagues, with Glasgow the visitors to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday evening.

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Scarlets
3 - 45
Full-time
Glasgow
All Stats and Data

Reflecting on life in west Wales, the 26-year-old said: “I am enjoying it. The boys have made me feel very welcome, so it’s been quite an easy transition. It’s been good.”

The Dumfries-born Craig linked up with Gloucester after shining while playing for the nearby Hartpury College and in international age-grade rugby, signing his first professional contract in 2019.

ADVERTISEMENT

Catching the eye at Kingsholm, he was soon called up by Scotland and won two caps off the bench during the 2021 Six Nations, but his progress was then hampered by injury.

“I tore my hamstring and then went on to a few more injuries after that,” he says.

“The last two years before this season, I struggled to stay fit.

“It was quite frustrating because there’s not an awful lot you can do.

“I am grateful to be fit now. I’ve managed to string games together, which is important for me.

“So personally it’s been great from that point of view. It helps you as a player going from game to game rather than playing a couple and then being out for a while.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It builds confidence and your ability to play.”

The 6ft 6ins, 18st 10lbs Craig was called up by Scotland midway through the Six Nations following an injury to fellow second row Richie Gray.

“It was great to be back involved in the squad,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve been striving towards.

“It’s been a couple of years since I was last involved, so to get back in the mix and see some of the boys up there I haven’t seen for a while was great.

“Staying fit is obviously crucial for that. You can build performances and coaches are aware of you if you are doing well.”

Craig is following in the illustrious footsteps of John Barclay as a Scottish international forward at the Scarlets.

“I was a big fan of his when I was younger,” he reveals.

“I was obviously aware he was at the Scarlets. You see him up on the wall here, having played more than 100 games.

“I have heard him speak very highly of the Scarlets and saying it was the favourite time of his career being here.”

Scarlets coach Dwayne Peel was full of praise for Craig’s big ball-carrying display in the 16-13 victory over Benetton.

“I thought that was his best game for us,” said the former Wales scrum-half.

“He is an old school lock in many ways. He gets round and does his work, with high carries, high ruck numbers.

“He had a good bit of energy about him. I thought he was excellent.

“I am really pleased for him. He is a great guy and hopefully there are many more of those to come.”

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

USER NOTICE:

As part of a series of planned improvements, we will need you to reset your RugbyPass password from 24/07/24 to continue commenting on articles.

You don’t need to change anything until that time.

Thank you,

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

T
Tim 6 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

2 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE Peaking to perfection: how Canada plan to conquer Paris Peaking to perfection: how Canada plan to conquer Paris
Search