Richie Gray’s return is good for Glasgow and potentially Scotland too

Richie Gray’s return was one of the most heartening aspects of Saturday’s dour 1872 Cup match

Glasgow's Richie Gray rises highest at the lineout during the narrow defeat by Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Glasgow's Richie Gray rises highest at the lineout during the narrow defeat by Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

With national coach Gregor Townsend watching from the stand, Gray was one of Glasgow’s most impressive performers even if he couldn’t prevent Edinburgh from edging a tight inter-city derby.

The experienced second-row has been out since October due to concussion but was able to play 74 minutes at BT Murrayfield.

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Although reluctant to press his own case for a Scotland recall, Gray was delighted to return to the fray for the club he rejoined in the summer.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend watches from the stand as Edinburgh take on Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

“Obviously coming back for a derby it is easy to get yourself up for a game,” he said. “I felt good and hopefully I can stay fit and get a bit of consistency.

“I was getting asked at 60 minutes if I wanted to keep going. But I felt good. Maybe that says something about the game because it was more attritional than quick. But I’m thankful for that and we’ll see what happens next week.”

Gray missed the 2019 World Cup after asking not to be considered following the birth of his child but he returned to the Scotland squad in the autumn before suffering concussion against Ospreys.

With the Six Nations little over a month away it’s a good time to find form but the lock said it was too soon to talk about Scotland, particularly with such stiff competition at Warriors.

“No, I’m just looking to stay fit,” he said. “I’ve got a battle on my hands at Glasgow where we’ve got Scotty Cummings, Lewis Bean and Rob Harley, and Leone [Nakarawa] coming back, and youngsters as well. It is a fight every week.

“Let’s be realistic, get a run in and see what happens.”

Gray’s lay-off coincided with the news that a group of former players were mounting a legal action against the game’s governing bodies over an alleged failure to protect them from the risks caused by concussions.

The Scot was out for ten weeks which was frustrating but he understood the need for caution.

“Yes, it just dragged on,” he said. “Obviously, it is a pretty hot topic at the moment and the medical staff didn’t want to take any risks. We had very open and honest conversations but thankfully now I’ve put it behind me.”

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