Gilchrist to captain Scotland in summer tour opener
Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist will captain Scotland against Canada at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton this Saturday in the absence of injured hooker Stuart McInally (9 June, kick-off 7pm local time, Sunday 2am UK time) – live on BBC.
McInally has failed to recover sufficiently from the calf strain he sustained on the eve of the squad’s departure for the summer tour, meaning clubmate Gilchrist – who captained Scotland against Argentina and South Africa on the 2014 tour – will skipper the side.
Head Coach Gregor Townsend has selected two debutants for the match, with Edinburgh flanker Jamie Ritchie and Harlequins centre James Lang set to earn their first senior international honours in the opening Test of the 2018 Summer Tour.
Former Scotland U20 captain, Ritchie, has made 48 appearances for his club since he signed senior professional terms aged just 17. He will partner clubmate Magnus Bradbury and David Denton (Leicester Tigers) in the back-row.
Lang – who first wore Scotland colours for Scotland U18 some five years ago (2013) – will partner Newcastle Falcons midfielder Chris Harris on his debut.
Ritchie and Lang are two of four potential debutants named to face the Canadians, with Edinburgh forward Lewis Carmichael joined on the bench by Glasgow Warriors stand-off Adam Hastings.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “The coaches and I have enjoyed working with the players this week in Vancouver and are pleased with how they have performed in training, getting through a lot of technical, tactical and conditioning work.
“We’ve now arrived in Edmonton where we will be putting the finishing touches on our preparation and aim to put a marker down at the beginning of this three-Test tour, against a side which has, historically, been a very tough side for Scotland over the years – especially on home soil.
“A number of opportunities have been given to players to play their way into our thinking on this tour and beyond and we look forward to seeing them take to the field this Saturday.”
Blair Kinghorn – whose two caps to date have come on the wing – has been handed his first international opportunity in his more familiar role of full-back, where he plies his trade for Edinburgh.
He is joined in the back-three by wings Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) and Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), while experienced stand-off Ruaridh Jackson partners Scarlets scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne at half-back.
Props Allan Dell and Simon Berghan pack down either side of Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown, while Ben Toolis joins captain Gilchrist in the second-row to complete the pack.
The North American Tests against Canada on Saturday 9 June (kick-off 7pm, Sunday 2am UK time) and USA on Saturday 16 June (kick-off 8pm, Sunday 2am UK time) will be shown live on the BBC, with the final Test against Argentina on Saturday 23 June (kick-off 4.40pm, 8.40pm UK time) aired on Channel 4.
Scotland team to play Canada at the Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Saturday 9 June (kick-off 7pm local time, Sunday 2am UK time) – live on BBC
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 2 caps
14. Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
13. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 2 caps
12. James Lang (Harlequins) – uncapped
11. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 3 caps
10. Ruaridh Jackson VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets) – 9 caps
1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 10 caps
2. Fraser Brown VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 8 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 9 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 2 caps
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – uncapped
8. David Denton (Leicester Tigers) – 39 caps
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
18. Murray McCallum (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
19. Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh) – uncapped
20. Luke Hamilton (unattached) – 1 cap
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
23. Mark Bennett (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
2018 SUMMER TOUR
Saturday 9 June: Canada v Scotland
Commonwealth Stadium (kick-off 7pm, Sunday 2am UK time) – live on BBC
Saturday 16 June: USA v Scotland
BBVA Compass Stadium (kick-off 8pm, Sunday 2am UK time) – live on BBC
Saturday 23 June: Argentina v Scotland
Estadio Centenario (kick-off 4.40pm, 8.40pm UK time) – live on Channel 4