Richie Gray relishing being back in Scotland squad for Autumn Series

Veteran lock Richie Gray is relishing being back in the Scotland squad after drifting out of the international picture in recent years.

The 33-year-old won the first of his 67 caps in 2010 but has made only three appearances under current head coach Gregor Townsend and has not featured for his country since the 2021 Six Nations.

After impressing for Glasgow this term, Gray was named in the squad for the Autumn Series.

England v Scotland – RBS Six Nations – Twickenham Stadium
Richie Gray has made only three appearances for Scotland under current head coach Gregor Townsend (David Davies/PA)

Having missed last weekend’s defeat by Australia, injuries to fellow locks Scott Cummings and Sam Skinner have paved the way for him to potentially mark his return to action against Fiji on Saturday.

“I’m delighted to be here, it’s always an honour to represent your country and be involved in these camps,” he said. “There’s been a lot of hard work gone into getting back into it.

“I’ve tried to adapt my game this season to give me a few more moments round the park, which I feel I’m doing with Glasgow. It’s just a case of trying to replicate that on the international stage. That’s the challenge going into the weekend.”

Gray has enjoyed “reconnecting with some familiar faces” since the squad met up last week although, with more than a decade having elapsed since he first played for Scotland, he notes “there are also a huge number of young guys coming through who are bringing real energy”.

“Things have moved on a bit but the squad is a really good place to be,” he said. “There’s a buzz around the camp; I can’t believe how well everyone has connected with each other.

“The team room is absolutely packed every night with everyone having a blether. It’s been great. Everyone’s enjoying training and looking forward to the weekend.”

Gray could be reunited in the Scotland side with his younger brother Jonny, the Exeter lock.

“He certainly sets the standard in terms of work rate,” Richie said of his 28-year-old sibling. “Can I keep up with that these days? Who knows. He certainly sets the marker in training and makes everyone pull along with him.”

Wales v Scotland – Guinness Six Nations – Principality Stadium
Jonny Gray sets a marker in training, according to his brother Richie (David Davies/PA)

Gray watched from the sidelines as Scotland suffered an agonising 16-15 defeat by Australia in their opening Test on Saturday.

“It’s fine margins,” he said. “It was a one-point game. There were opportunities to get two scores ahead and put that game to bed in the second half.

“If we’d done that it would have been a whole different ball game. But that’s international rugby. Things swing very quickly and it’s just about whether you can gather momentum and win those moments.”