Having been pulled in to train with England last season, Stirling-born Falcons flanker Gary Graham has been called up by Scotland
Gary Graham switches allegiance back to Scotland for final November Tests
Despite having been attached to England last season, Newcastle Falcons flanker Gary Graham has been called up by Scotland for their remaining November Tests.
During last season’s Six Nations, 26-year-old Graham – son of former Scotland prop and ex-national team forwards coach George, and a Scotland U20 cap – was called up to join Eddie Jones’s England squad. He travelled with the group to Italy as an additional man, but he was injured during the Six Nation and was never capped. He now joins up with Scotland as an injury replacement for uncapped, New Zealand-born back-rower Blade Thompson, of the Scarlets.
Graham moved with his family to Carlisle at the age of three. However he returned north at 17 and played for Gala and Scotland U20s. He went on to join Jersey in the English Championship before moving to the Falcons.
In February, Graham told the Daily Mail: “England want to be No 1 in the world and I’m not sure Scotland will ever be anywhere near. I’ve grown up here so, yeah, I feel more English than Scottish.” However, after reversing his position, Graham today said: “I’m Scottish through-and-through but England asked me first as I’m eligible through residency.”
He continued: “It would have been a silly opportunity to pass up (playing for England), as I hadn’t been selected for a Scotland squad since U20s.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get this opportunity. I phoned (Scotland coach) Gregor Townsend to assure him I wanted to play for Scotland, and always wanted to play for my country. It’s where I’m from and where I played most of my rugby.”
On the switch of allegiances, Townsend said: “It has become a competitive environment for dual-qualified players recently and we know these are not easy decisions for players.
“We’ve been tracking Gary since he was at Jersey and his form over the past 12 months at Newcastle has moved him closer to playing international rugby. We look forward to welcoming him into our squad for this week’s camp.”
Scotland’s remaining November Tests are against South Africa and Argentina.
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