GRANT STEWART started this month with a man-of-the-match performance for Glasgow Hawks in their BT Premiership/National One play-off success over Jed-Forest, and he is finishing the month on the other side of the Atlantic as part of Gregor Townsend’s squad which is preparing to play Test matches against Canada, the USA and Argentina during the first three weekends in June.
The 23-year-old hooker – who has played 13 games for Hawks in the BT Premiership this season and appeared seven times off the bench for Glasgow Warriors after being drafted into the squad as emergency injury cover against Leinster in the Champions Cup in mid-January – has been called up to the senior Scotland side as precautionary back-up to tour captain Stuart McInally, who is struggling with a calf strain.
McInally sustained the injury on the eve of the national team’s departure for Canada and will be rehabilitated by the Scotland medical staff on the tour. Stewart will now link up with two other Glasgow-based hookers in Fraser Brown and George Turner.
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The former Strathaven and Dalziel youth player joined Hawks five years ago but initially struggled to break into the 1st XV squad for the Anniesland men before getting his big chance at the start of last season. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and under the tutelage of Fin Gillies – a former professional hooker with the Warriors – he was one of the outstanding performers in the BT Premiership during the 2017-18 campaign.
He was rewarded with a stage three BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy contract this season and is believed to be in line for promotion to the full-time staff at the Warriors at some point in the next year.
Scotland flew out to Vancouver ahead of the start of the tour on Monday and started training today [Wednesday]. Their first match of the trip is against Canada in Edmonton on 9th June. They then play the United States in Houston a week later and their final Test is against Argentina in Resistencia on 23rd June.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 3)
BT Premiership: Hawks hooker Grant Stewart ready for rugby career to hit top gear
Here was me thinking Premiership wasn’t fit for purpose?
So this player identification thing turns out to be more complicated than the SRU thought.
The drip feed occasional player from the Premiership doesn’t make it fit for purpose. The fact that he struggled to initially get into the 1st XV may indicate he was a late developer.