Magnus Bradbury ready for return to Scotland duty against Canada

Magnus Bradbury: called up by Scotland
Magnus Bradbury: called up by Scotland

Magnus Bradbury promised he has "grown up" and is ready for a return to Scotland duty in Saturday night's clash with Canada in Edmonton.

Bradbury started the season as Edinburgh captain, then lost the job and his place in the club side after a drink-fuelled incident in October, but has battled back to make his first Test start in a year.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill at the time criticised Bradbury's behaviour, which saw him need medical attention for a head injury, however the 22-year-old flanker has put the disappointment firmly behind him.

"This is my opportunity now," Bradbury said. "I'd say I've learnt a lot, a huge amount, over the past season. It's experience more than anything. I've tried to build my game as much as possible on the pitch, but off the pitch, being told how to lead and how to come back, I've learnt a lot from that.

"I've grown up. I wouldn't necessarily say that (drink incident) is what caused me to grow up, but I feel that it has been a contributing factor."

He added: "Something Richard Cockerill and Gregor (Townsend, the Scotland head coach) have said to me is I need to be that hard guy, try to be as aggressive as I can, whether it's ball-carrying, defence or around the park. I'm glad Gregor said that because it's something I've been trying to work on."

Bradbury's inclusion is one of 14 changes to the Scotland starting line-up from the side that struggled to a win in Rome in the final game of the Six Nations. There are two new caps in Harlequins centre James Lang and Edinburgh's Jamie Ritchie, who will pack down alongside club-mate Bradbury in the back row.

"It is always good to have team-mates and massive congratulations to Jamie for his first cap, first start," Bradbury said. "It is great and there are other young boys as well getting their potential debuts."

Two experimental sides will battle it out, and both sets of players have points to prove.

For Canada, who have lost influential players like Gordon McRorie, the Scots-born utility back who had been expected to play fly-half, and Tyler Ardron, the former Osprey now with the Chiefs in New Zealand, the goal is redemption after failing to make it through the Americas World Cup qualification tournament.

For Scotland, it is proving that they have the young players coming through who can do what their senior colleagues have so often failed to do and win away.

The two uncapped players on the bench are Adam Hastings, son of former Scotland great Gavin, and Lewis Carmichael, the Edinburgh lock.

One reason for the radical look to the side is that Gregor Townsend decided early on that with Glasgow Warriors players joining the squad training in Scotland two weeks later than the rest after reaching the Guinness PRO14 semi-finals, he would try not to play them if possible.

A lot will depend on the cohesion of the pack with six out of the eight coming from Edinburgh.

"We have played a lot of rugby together, a lot of rugby in the PRO14, Challenge Cup and things like that," Bradbury said.

"I feel experienced but not necessarily at this level."

Scotland team: Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Jones (Glasgow), Harris (Newcastle), Lang (Harlequins), McGuigan (Sale); Jackson (Glasgow), Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets); Dell (Edinburgh), Brown (Glasgow), Berghan (Edinburgh), Toolis (Edinburgh), Gilchrist (Edinburgh, captain), Bradbury (Edinburgh), Ritchie (Edinburgh), Denton (Leicester Tigers).

Replacements: Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), McCallum (Edinburgh), Carmichael (Edinburgh), Hamilton (unattached), Price (Glasgow Warriors), Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Bennett (Edinburgh).

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