Scotland’s presumptive rugby captain-in-waiting Grant Gilchrist has been ruled out for the rest of the season (this means the end of May in SRU-speak) having been required to undergo further surgery for the broken forearm he sustained in October’s European Cup fixture against Lyon.
The decision for revision surgery was taken after consultation with upper limb specialist Mr Doug Campbell at Spire Hospital Leeds. Following a period of rest, Grant will continue his rehabilitation under the care of the Edinburgh Rugby and Scotland medical teams.
This leaves Vern with a tricky choice ahead of the Rugby World Cup that will see his annointed first choice as captain almost completely without form going into the tournament warm-ups and unlikely to play his way in to the sort of form he’ll need to get past Jonny Gray in time.
Who then as captain? If Hidalgo-Clyne keeps improving at the rate he is, Laidlaw won’t be certain of his place. Unless of course he is the only option in a team that keeps getting younger.
Players almost certain to be on the team sheet (if in any sort of form and not banned):
- Alex Dunbar
- Stuart Hogg
- Tommy Seymour
- Jonny Gray
- Rob Harley
- Finn Russell
For me the clear candidates would be Dunbar, Gray or Harley. Your perfect captain in the backs would be someone like Sean Lamont but he’s not guaranteed a place in the team once Maitland is fully fit. Dunbar probably has enough to do running the defence so that leaves the two forwards. While currently a cert, Harley could come under threat if Josh Strauss, Ashe or Beattie all hit form at the same time so that leaves Gray, who also has to call the lineout. It is a like for like swap if Gilchrist does get fit.
It has been good enough for scrum half captains so why not second rows?