The openside flanker was omitted from the Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup and took a break back home in his native New Zealand to help come to terms with his deep disappointment.
“Gilchrist sustained the soft tissue damage in the 19th minute of the national team’s 39-16 win over U.S. yesterday, with the recovery period expected to extend beyond the competition”.
“The (coaches) know what I can do”.
“I think he proved why Vern put him in the squad with that first game”.
The London Irish back-row man said: “If I’m called up to play on Saturday am I ready? Yeah – just show me the jersey”.
Scotland coach Vern Cotter decided that with three specialist locks, and cover from No. 8 David Denton, he needed to strengthen his flanker stocks.
“It was devastating”, he said.
A few supporters argued that Hardie should not have been parachuted into the squad at all; others that he should not have been chosen as the only man in his position. I was devastated not to be in the original squad, but I’ve been through it all before. 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.
“The body can only take so much so I was always aware that this could possibly happen, I was always on my toes”.
“It was devastating. So to get the call-up is sensational”. ‘It’s every kid’s dream as a rugby player to come to the World Cup. “You never want to come in on someone else’s misfortune, but that’s the nature of the game”. “I was quite emotional”. The Edinburgh forward was due to skipper the Dark Blues during last year’s autumn Tests but just a week after being appointed suffered an arm injury playing in a European Challenge Cup match in France that ruled him out for nine months.
It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on life right now although even had Hamilton been straining at the leash Cotter might still have looked to the third rather than the second row for his replacement…not that Cowan concurs.
The 11-cap forward said: “I can’t remember what I was doing when I got the call”. It’s usually one of those two.
“I had a missed call from Gav and straight away you start thinking what it might mean”.
‘It’s a bit of a jump up for me from preparing for a pre-season London Irish game to being back with the Scotland squad, but that’s what we live and breathe for.