At 6’9″, the instantly recognisable Richard James Gray stepped up the international ladder with his debut for Scotland off the bench against France in the RBS 6 Nations opener at BT Murrayfield in February 2010, having progressed through the age-grade ranks and impressing for Scotland A in the 38-7 victory against Tonga at Netherdale.
Two replacement appearances followed before he made his start for Scotland and battled manfully in adversity in the defeat to New Zealand in the Autumn Test at Murrayfield later that year.
He was then selected in Andy Robinsons’s squad for the Rugby World Cup 2011.
He then scored his first try for Scotland in the loss to Ireland in Dublin during the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship and was named RBS man of the match for his superb contribution in the lineout and open play to Scotland’s 21-8 March 2011 Murrayfield win against Italy.
In 2013, Gray was named in the successful series winning British & Irish Lions touring side to Australia, coming off the bench in the winning Test match in Sydney.
Gray continued to play an important role for Scotland, scoring his second international try in the 2014 Autumn Test win over Argentina at BT Murrayfield (41-31).
Richie and brother Jonny were both on the scoresheet that day, making them the last brothers to score in the same Test match since Gavin and Scott Hastings, who were on the try-sheet together three times during their career (twice in 1991 – Five Nations and RCW – and in the RWC 1995).
He continued in near ever present fashion into 2015, earning selection in the Rugby World Cup and making his 50th international appearance against South Africa in the Pool stages, his second outing in the tournament –
Richie started all five of Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations matches the following year and scored his third Test try, against Ireland, in the final match of the Championship.
The Kelvinside Academy former pupil has played for Scotland also at under-17 and under-18 levels as well as for Glasgow at under-15, under-16, and under-18. His under-18 internationals included the Six Nations’ Festival in Glasgow in April 2007 Richie left Sale Sharks at the end of the 2012-13 season and joined Castres.
He played in two games in the IRB Junior World Championship in Wales in June 2008 before his tournament was cut short by injury against South Africa, but he returned to the under-20 team for the opening day of the age group’s 2009 Six Nations Championship, when Scotland beat Wales by 18-17 at McDiarmid Park, Perth. His performance in that match earned him the BBC2 Wales man-of-the-match honour.
Richie had a winning start to captaining Scotland under-20 in March 2009 when the team beat Ireland 35-20 in the age group’s Six Nations Championship match at McDiarmid Park, Perth. Over the previous five weeks he had had impressive roles in Scotland’s wins against Wales and Italy.
He was also captain in the Worcester match against England on the final weekend of the championship, by the end of which he was among 11 players who had started for Scotland in all five championship games. He went on to play in all five of Scotland’s games in the IRB Junior World Championship in Japan, captaining the team again in the Tokyo match against England.
Richie joined Glasgow Warriors in August 2008 after having played for Scotland in internationals in Italy twice in different age groups in February that year. He was in the team who won the under-19 match at Parabagio, near Milan, and he returned to Italy less than two weeks later to make his under-20 debut at Mogliano in Scotland’s final match of that age group’s 2008 Six Nations Championship.