Newcastle Falcons and former Jersey Reds flanker Gary Graham has made a surprise international allegiance swap today, with Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend calling the former England squad man to Murrayfield ahead of South Africa's visit this weekend.
Graham, son of former Scottish prop George Graham, previously declared his allegiance for England and trained under Jones during the Six Nations. The Falcons backrower links up with the Scotland squad as a replacement for injured Scarlets backrower Blade Thompson.
The 26-year-old flanker, who represented Scotland at u20 level, has made conflicting comments in regards to his international intentions over the last year. In the lead up to England's Calcutta Cup loss last February, Graham said: "I’d f****** love to play against Scotland next week, make 1,000 tackles and shove it in their face - but it might have to wait until next year."
However, in Scotland's media release earlier today, the Stirling-born openside commented: “I’m Scottish through-and-through but England asked me first as I'm eligible through residency. It would have been a silly opportunity to pass up, as I hadn’t been selected for a Scotland squad since U20s.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get this opportunity. I phoned Gregor to assure him I wanted to play for Scotland, and always wanted to play for my country. It’s where I’m from and where I played most of my rugby.”
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, added: "It was great to hear from Gary that he wanted to commit to Scotland.
"It has become a competitive environment for dual-qualified players recently and we know that these are not easy decisions for players.
"We've been tracking Gary since he was at Jersey and his form over the past 12 months at Newcastle has moved him closer to playing international rugby. We look forward to welcoming him into our squad for this week's camp."
Graham will be in contention for an international debut this weekend against the Springboks, where Rassie Erasmus's charges will be looking to make amends for poor form in Paris, despite claiming victory in the 84th minute at the Stade de France.