Greig Tonks targets World Cup stand-off role for Scotland

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Greig Tonks in action for Scotland against England
Greig Tonks is eyeing Scotland's number 10 jersey

Edinburgh back Greig Tonks is known for his versatility but his focus now lies firmly on securing Scotland's number 10 jersey at the Rugby World Cup.

The 26-year-old has spent much of his professional career at full-back, and can also fill in at centre.

But after being deployed consistently in the pivot role for the capital side, Tonks is itching to strut his stuff there in the Test arena.

"I'd like to play fly-half; I want to play 10," Tonks told BBC Scotland.

"I've played a lot of rugby at full-back; I do enjoy playing there, but going forward I've really enjoyed the opportunities I've had at fly-half, particularly at Edinburgh."

South African-born Tonks moved to England aged two, and after progressing through the ranks at Leicester Tigers, joined Edinburgh three years ago from Northampton Saints.

"I had a good run with Edinburgh; we had some really good wins, even just last season we won the 1872 Cup, a good couple of games in Europe, (against) Bordeaux, Lyon," he added.

"We ground out some good tough wins away when I was playing 10. We had some good results, so I was comfortable. At the moment, there's myself, Jade Te Rure and Phil Burleigh. Between the three of us, hopefully everyone has a good crack at it and we get some good results for everyone."

Greig Tonks in training at Scotland's pre-season camp
Tonks can cover several positions along the backline

In an international capacity, Tonks' route to his prized stand-off berth is blocked by Finn Russell, whose stock within Scottish rugby continued to rise thanks to his commanding displays along Glasgow Warriors' route to the Pro12 title.

Fellow Warrior Duncan Weir also returned from an arm injury to partake in the season run-in, while London Wasps' Ruairidh Jackson has recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament tear sustained in September.

Talented pair Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland - who is understood to be keen to play at full-back rather than on the wing, where he has chiefly been utilised by Scotland and Glasgow Warriors - are likely to contest the full-back position.

"That's just the way it is," conceded Tonks. "You can't really hop back and forth. The coaches want me to be able to cover both positions - I am happy to play full-back, but I enjoy fly-half as well.

"You get to control things a little bit more, have a little bit more say in structure, patterns, the way you play. You get to be more vocal, put your own stamp on the game, have a bit more of an influence, which I quite like.

"The coaches will want everyone to try and showcase what they can do. No-one's been given any guarantees, but I'm sure that's what Vern will try and do."

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