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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Six Nations: Jonny Gray feels blue as brother misses out on Scotland selection

'I'm absolutely gutted for him,' Jonny told reporters soon after Richie's withdrawal from the team announced to face Wales in Cardiff opener

Jonny Gray of Glasgow Warriors runs with the ball during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Glasgow Warriors and Exeter Chiefs at Scotstoun Stadium. Ian MacNicol / Getty Images
Jonny Gray of Glasgow Warriors runs with the ball during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Glasgow Warriors and Exeter Chiefs at Scotstoun Stadium. Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

Jonny Gray is disappointed fellow lock and elder brother Richie will miss Scotland duty once more after a calf injury ruled him out of their Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

"I'm absolutely gutted for him," Jonny told reporters soon after Richie's withdrawal from the team was announced on Monday.

The Toulouse lock will remain in France for rehabilitation and it remained unclear how long he would be out of action, Scottish Rugby said.

"It would be great to have him here and it's been a while since we've seen him and we hope he'll be back soon. I don't think it's something too serious. He'll be back sooner rather than later," Jonny, 23, added.

"I miss Rich, he's a great guy and, as a rugby player, it's great to have him about, training and working with him and getting his ideas. He's not too far away on the phone.

"He's always available to speak about different things. He's got a lot of information as well, and he gets it from us as well for when he comes back in."

Richie, 28, who has 65 caps, has not played for Scotland since their Calcutta Cup clash against England in March as he battled a long-term back injury for most of last year.

Jonny played in six subsequent Tests, including all three in November, when Scotland beat Australia and Samoa and came close to upsetting world champions New Zealand.

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Scotland's last international was a record 53-24 victory over the Wallabies in November, while they ended a nine-game losing streak against Wales in last year's Six Nations.

However, they Scots have not won any of their last eight visits to Cardiff, with their most recent victory there a 27-22 success in 2002.

Worcester wing Josh Adams will make his Wales debut in Saturday's Sin Nations opener against Scotland.

Adams, this season's English Premiership top try-scorer, will feature on the right wing in a starting line-up that includes 10 Scarlets players.

Rhys Patchell is handed the fly-half role instead of an injured Dan Biggar, but there is no place in the Matchday 23 for Northampton wing George North.

Wales are without several injured senior players for the Scotland clash - the list includes Biggar, Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies and Rhys Webb - but there is a recall for fit-again Gloucester back-row forward Ross Moriarty.

Moriarty packs down at No 8 alongside Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi in the back row, while Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes retains his place following an impressive try-scoring Test debut against South Africa.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "The first-up game against Scotland this weekend is really important for us, and this is a great chance for this group of players to get us off to a good start.

"We have been watching Josh [Adams] closely. He is top try-scorer in the English Premiership and has been going well, and we are excited for him.

"Both Rhys [Patchell] and Gareth [Anscombe] have been training really well over the last couple of weeks. It was a tough call between them, Rhys has started most of his games for the Scarlets at 10, we are really happy with his form and the combination with Gareth [Davies] at nine.

"We know what a quality player Ross [Moriarty] is, it's great he is back and available and we are looking forward to seeing his explosive ball-carrying on Saturday.

"For this opening game, we looked at a lot of combinations, especially the front row. It is exciting to see Samson [Lee] back playing well and the familiarity of the Scarlets front row will be important."