26 Jan Toolis ready to battle for locking berth
Lock Ben Toolis is adamant that – despite his the competition for second-row being among what he considers to be some of the ‘in-form locks in Europe’ – he’s committed to battling for the chance to add to his solitary Scotland cap in the coming RBS 6 Nations.
Toolis made his international and Six Nations debut when he came off the bench against Italy in 2015 but has not featured since, missing out on subsequent squad selections.
“The second row is quite difficult to crack,” he admitted.
“Jonny and Richie always play well for Scotland and you’ve got Gilcho [Gilchrist] and Swinno [Swinson] as well. It’s very tough.”
As it stands, second-row brethren Jonny and Richie Gray are the men in possession, with their individual performances, innate understanding and complementary playing styles concreting their place in the boiler house the past two years.
Add to that Edinburgh Rugby’s co-captain Gilchrist – national team captain on the 2014 summer tour and named as such for the 2014 Autumn Tests before injury curtailed his involvement – and Glasgow Warriors’ back-to-back, man-of-the match award winner Tim Swinson and you begin to fathom the challenge for the relative newcomer.
“Competition is good, it brings the best out of you and the players around you.
“Jonny Gray’s a great bloke. He always wants to help, give feedback and give his opinions or involve people.
“He’s a very impressive player. He must be pushing for a spot on that Lions tour. He’s one of the form locks in Europe at the moment.”