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Sport

Rugby - Veteran Gray pleased to be back in Scotland set-up

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Richie Gray was not sure how he would feel returning to the Scotland squad after a two-year absence but the veteran lock has enjoyed his first week back preparing for the completion of the Six Nations this month and Autumn Nations Cup in November.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Italy vs Scotland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - March 17, 2018 Scotland’s Richie Gray celebrates at the end of the match REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

Gray, who won the last of his 65 caps against Italy in 2018, is expected to be selected when Scotland play Georgia in a warm-up test on Oct. 23 in Edinburgh before they complete their Six Nations programme against Wales in Llanelli on Oct. 31.

The 31-year-old sat out last year’s World Cup because of the birth of his son and had also missed the last two Six Nations tournaments through injury.

But having moved back to Glasgow Warriors after seven years of club rugby in France, Gray said he had slotted back easily.

“I wasn’t sure how I’d feel but I definitely did miss it, I’ve missed the build-up to internationals,” he told a news conference on Friday.

Gray said Scotland had “kicked on” appreciably since he last played for them. “It’s a very good side. A lot of young guys have come through and put their hands up,” he added.

Gray suggested, despite his experience and credentials as a British & Irish Lion, that he would have to battle his way back into the team.

“In the second row alone there are seven decent players. It’s the most depth I’ve ever seen in a Scotland squad. It will be a challenge to get back in the side,” he said.

But Gray felt he still had something to offer the side, who next month will take on Italy, France and Fiji in the new Autumn Nations Cup.

“I’m not sure what I’ve got left but I’m sure I can offer something. That’s why I’m here, I believe,” he added.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg; Editing by Ken Ferris

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