Rugby World Cup: Blair Cowan replaces Gilchrist in Scotland squad

Blair Cowan’s omission was the biggest talking point when Scotland picked its Rugby World Cup squad at the start of the month.


Gilchrist was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a groin injury after lasting just 18 minutes of Sunday’s win over the United States at Elland Road.

London Irish’s Cowan, 29, born in New Zealand to a Scottish mother, was in Vern Cotter’s initial training squad for the tournament.

“The (coaches) know what I can do”. However, Jim Hamilton, who would have been one of Cotter’s likely first reserves, announced his global retirement after missing out on the original 31-man squad selected for England 2015.

“It was devastating”, he said. It was probably the tightest position in the whole squad.

“Obviously I got excited, there would be no other reason why he would be calling, and when I called back he put me straight on to Vern (Cotter)”. My career hasn’t been the smoothest – it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride so know there are peaks and troughs you can go through. “I was always aware that this could possibly happen, so I was always on my toes”. You just look at John Hardie’s performance against Japan.

“Got a call last night, tied a few things up with the club, packed the bags and left home at 4.30 this morning”, he laughed on arriving. “It’s every kid’s dream as an egg chaser to come to the World Cup“.

“We’re all really disappointed for Grant who is an important player to the group, both an athlete and as a decent human being”, said Cotter. It’s just a shame it comes on the back of someone hurting themselves.


Although he has only just joined this squad it is possible that Cowan understands the enormity of the World Cup experience better than anyone else having seen it from a punter’s standpoint rather then being inside the bubble and looking out.

Blair Cowan has been called into Scotland World Cup squad