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Nov 24, 2018 at 6am UK
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Scotland's Grant Gilchrist determined to take his chance against Argentina

The second-rower has only started one of Scotland's autumn Tests so far.

Grant Gilchrist hopes he can provide Gregor Townsend with the key ingredient as the Scotland coach continues his search for the perfect second-row combination.

The Edinburgh forward has had to bide his time this autumn while Townsend has given his various lock pairings a try.

Ben Toolis and Jonny Gray got the nod for the November opener against Wales, with Gilchrist afforded just a seven-minute cameo off the bench in Cardiff.

The 28-year-old was back in to partner Sam Skinner from the start against Fiji at Murrayfield, with Exeter's Skinner – named man of the match on his debut – then shifting to the back-row as Gray closed out the eight-try demolition job.

Grant Gilchrist has only started one of Scotland's Autumn Tests so far
Grant Gilchrist has only started one of Scotland's Autumn Tests so far (Andrew Milligan/PA)

But Gilchrist was absent entirely on Saturday as Toolis and Gray played the full 80 minutes of the 26-20 defeat by South Africa.

He should make his return this weekend when Argentina bring the curtain down on Scotland's four-game autumn series on Saturday, but who will be lining up alongside him remains to be seen.

However, with stalwart Richie Gray still a contender for the Six Nations as he battles a back injury and the likes of Rob Harely, Tim Swinson, Lewis Carmichael and Blade Thomson also in the frame, Gilchrist admits a top performance against the Pumas is required to secure his place in Townsend's special blend.

"It's quite clear that the coaches are trying out different combinations," he said. "So when it's your chance to play you've got to perform, because as we've seen across the board there's been good performances, certainly from players in my position.

Sam Skinner, right, was named man of the match on his Scotland debut against Fiji
Sam Skinner, right, was named man of the match on his Scotland debut against Fiji (Ian Rutherford/PA)

"I think, to be fair, in Scottish rugby we always seem to have a depth of second rows. From the first time I was involved in the squad until now, it's always been highly competitive and I'm a firm believer that makes everybody better.

"It makes me better, it makes the other guys better and I thrive off that. I think it's a really good thing for all of us.

"It's not a good thing when you're not playing, but you've got to take that on the chin and work harder and when you do get your chance there's pressure on you to perform because there are other guys there who are desperate for it and when you're not involved you want to try to get that back."

Gilchrist was in the Dark Blues mix as Scotland ran up a record 44-15 win over Argentina in Resistencia this summer.

But he is unwilling to predict another walkover this weekend.

"They're a strong side and the difference from the team that we played in the summer is drastic," he insisted.

"They've improved a lot since then and as you've seen over the past few weeks and in the Rugby Championship, they're a very dangerous side and we're going to have to be as good as we've played across the whole of the autumn series to make sure we get the victory."


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