Henry Pyrgos not surprised to be named Scotland captain v Ireland

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Henry Pyrgos scoring for Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 final
Henry Pyrgos scored a try as Glasgow Warriors won the Pro12 final

Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Henry Pyrgos says he was not surprised to be named captain for Scotland's World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.

The 26-year-old missed Scotland's Six Nations whitewash through injury but returned to help Glasgow win the Pro12.

"I don't know about surprised," said Pyrgos, who will lead a 25-man squad in Dublin on Saturday. "I've had opportunities with Glasgow a few times.

"It's been mentioned. I've been put in this position in training a few times."

Pyrgos replaces Six Nations skipper, and fellow scrum-half, Greig Laidlaw for the first of four matches head coach Vern Cotter will use to cut his 47-man squad to 31 for next month's World Cup.

Laidlaw, who said last month he had spoken to Cotter about the captaincy, will not play on Saturday.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22, is in the squad having impressed for Edinburgh last season, prompting calls for his selection over the deposed Borderer.

"It's how it's going to go - Greig's been starting and Sam's come off the bench," said Pyrgos of the competition for the number nine jersey. "I won the Pro12, but I wasn't there with Scotland.

Greig Laidlaw in training for Scotland
Greig Laidlaw will not play in Scotland's first warm-up match

"Ultimately, we're probably all starting from scratch at the moment - the competition in training's pretty fierce."

Pyrgos said it was "exciting" to be part of the squad and hopes to "put down a first marker" by playing well on Saturday.

He added: "As a scrum-half, you have quite a big influence in the way the team plays in defence and attack.

"Leadership's probably why you see quite a few nines at captain - in that position, making decisions, communication with the squad.

"I wouldn't say it's a massive change; I'll obviously be focusing on my game, I need to play well and making sure the teams got a clear understanding of what we're trying to do."

Pyrgos, who said being named captain was the "proudest day of my life", will look to his fellow senior players to "step up" but reserve extra time to prepare those new to international rugby.

"I feel I can come in and definitely add to that leadership group," he said. "We've obviously got young good guys coming through, but there are also experienced guys in the squad - I suppose it's just gelling that."

Cotter will name his line-up for Saturday's fixture on Thursday.