Scottish Rugby
Gray taking nothing for granted
ESPNscrum Staff
July 28, 2011
Scotland lock Richie Gray, Scotland v Italy, Six Nations, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 19, 2011
Gray was Scotland's stand-out player during the 2011 Six Nations © Getty Images

Richie Gray insists he is still fighting for his place in Scotland's World Cup squad despite being singled out by boss Andy Robinson for a rest at the end of the 2010-11 Celtic League season.

But the 21-year-old is not taking a set on the plane to New Zealand as a given, seeing his enforced absence as nothing more than a chance to build up his strength and fitness. Gray was one of five players who the Scotland head coach withdrew from selection for Glasgow and Edinburgh for the final four matches of the Magners League season.

The move came after the lock impressed in Scotland's RBS 6 Nations campaign, but he insisted he did not take it as a vote of confidence. "I didn't really look at it in that way," Gray said.

"I looked at it in the regard I had been given a rest and what could i do to maximise it? The competition is huge and there is no guarantee you will be getting on the plane.Everyone is fighting for their position. That's the mindset I have and it's the mindset everyone has. There are no guarantees. I just looked at the rest as a chance to maximise my gym work as much as possible.

"The rest has done me good in regards to getting into the gym and working on my fitness. It gave me an extra block to concentrate on. From a rugby perspective I'm just trying dust off a few cobwebs in training and trying to get the skills coming back."

Gray will be involved in the first of two warm-up games, against Ireland at Murrayfield on August 6, along with the four others who were rested in March - Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, John Barclay, Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen. And he is looking forward to returning to competitive action following a long spell training with Scotland's provisional World Cup squad.

"It's been a tough two months - there is no denying that," the 6ft 8in forward said. "We are improving as a squad and starting to get a bit of a game plan. Everything is going well and we're hoping to see the benefits leading into the World Cup."

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