10 uncapped players in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland summer tour squad

Gregor Brown, Patrick Harrison, Will Hurd, Ewan Johnson, Nathan McBeth, Robbie Smith, Max Williamson, Matt Currie, Arron Reed and Gus Warr are the new faces

Northampton Saints hooker and former Scotland Under-20s captain Robbie Smith is one of 10 new caps in Gregor Townsend's 37-strong squad to tour the Americas this summer. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Northampton Saints hooker and former Scotland Under-20s captain Robbie Smith is one of 10 new caps in Gregor Townsend's 37-strong squad to tour the Americas this summer. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND has named his 37-strong squad to tour the Americas this summer, including 10 uncapped players.

The new faces are Glasgow Warriors back-row Gregor Brown, Edinburgh hooker Patrick Harrison, Leicester Tigers prop Will Hurd, Oyannax and former Scotland Under-20s second-row Ewan Johnson, Glasgow Warriors loose-head Nathan McBeth, Northampton Saints hooker and former Scotland Under-20s captain Robbie Smith, Glasgow Warriors second-row Max Williamson, Edinburgh centre Matt Currie, Sale Sharks wing Arron Reed, and Sale Sharks scrum-half Gus Warr.

Townsend has also invited former Scotland Under-20s tight-head prop and Glasgow Warriors summer-signing Fin Richardson, Edinburgh second-row Rob Carmichael and Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Ben Afshar to join the squad for the South American stretch of the tour as “development players”.


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Playing four matches – against Canada in Ottowa on 6th July, USA in Washington on 12th July, Chile in Santiago on 20th July and Uruguay in Montevideo on 27th July – the expedition has been officially named the Skyscanner Americas tour, in recognition of Scottish Rugby’s “new official travel technology partner”.

With senior figures such as Finn Russell, Blair Kinghorn, Ben White Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist and Jack Dempsey all being left at home after effectively playing back-to-back seasons before and after last Autumn’s World Cup, this was always going to be a squad containing new faces and fringe players with a point to prove. Three seasons out from the next World Cup, Townsend’s primary concern will be to return home with four wins from four games against tier two opposition, but he will also have an eye on beginning to put the foundations in place for Australia 2027.

There are some experienced heads who might have been expected to have a summer off included in the squad such as Glasgow Warriors centres Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones, Edinburgh loose-head Pierre Schoeman, Glasgow second-row Scott Cummings and back-rowers Jamie Ritchie, Matt Fagerson, Luke Crosbie and Rory Darge.

Dylan Richardson of the Sharks made his Scotland debut back in 2021 against Japan as back-rower but has since changed position to focus on hooker and recently lifted the Challenge Cup with the Sharks, coming off the bench in the final in London.

Scotland summer tour squad:

Loosehead props:

Nathan McBeth (Glasgow Warriors), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) and Rory Sutherland (Oyonnax Rugby).

Hookers:

Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby), Patrick Harrison (Edinburgh Rugby), Robbie Smith (Northampton Saints) and Dylan Richardson (The Sharks).

Tighthead props:

Will Hurd (Leicester Tigers), Elliot Millar-Mills (Northampton Saints), Javan Sebastian (Edinburgh Rugby) and Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors).

Second-rows:

Alex Craig (Scarlets), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Ewan Johnson (Oyonnax Rugby), Max Williamson (Glasgow Warriors) and Glen Young (Edinburgh Rugby).

Back-rows:

Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), Gregor Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) and Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby).

Scrum-half:

Jamie Dobie (Glasgow Warriors), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) and Gus Warr (Sale Sharks).

Stand-off:

Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby) and Ross Thompson (Glasgow Warriors).

Centres:

Matt Currie (Edinburgh Rugby), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Stafford McDowall (Glasgow Warriors) and Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors).

Back-three:

Harry Paterson (Edinburgh Rugby), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Warriors), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) and Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby).

 

Tour schedule:

  • Saturday 6 July: Canada v Scotland, TD Place, Ottawa, kick-off: 10pm UK time, 5pm local time
  • Friday 12 July: USA v Scotland, Audi Field, Washington DC, kick-off: 11.30pm UK time, 6.30pm local time
  • Saturday 20 July: Chile v Scotland, Estadio Nacional, Santiago, kick-off: 8pm UK time. 3pm local time
  • Saturday 27 July: Uruguay v Scotland, Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo, kick-off: 8pm UK time, 4pm local time

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About David Barnes 4028 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

39 Comments

  1. If we are looking after our players should people like Shoemam, Tuipulotu VDM be rested?

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    • Townsend is paranoid about potentially losing against Canada or the USA so he has kept his game breakers in like Jones, Sione and Duhan. Another easy summer tour to keep Townsend win stats looking good. Would someone please have the balls to say enough is enough because we all know when it really counts his golden generation crumble despite the millions he has had the SRU spend on importing talent from whereever he can find it.

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  2. Ewan Johnson is an interesting selection but what happened to Cameron Henderson and Callum Hunter-Hill? Bradbury is a strange omission.

    • Hunter-Hill had knee surgery last autumn, still out I think. Henderson also has a season ending injury IIRC

    • Any news on Ben Muncaster? He looked like the real deal a season or so ago but seems to have vanished of late.

      • He was a standout for Edinburgh A but he never got a look in. It is as if that useless SA coach thinks if I play all the big names then it cannot be fault. Edinburgh are once again failing considering they can put out a full international side but cannot finish in the top 8 of a 16 team league. Utter joke.

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        • Tom Dodd also played very well for Edinburgh A, he’s another who isn’t getting much of a chance.

  3. Redpath may possibly being rested as he has had long season for club and on occasion Scotland . Tom Jordan more likely to be a 10/ utility player if he is selected later in the year . Plays his best Rugby at 10.

    • I’ve always thought that Jordan plays his best rugby in the centre. He has looked good at ten as the other Glasgow options have been somewhat limited.

      • Agree David, Jordan best position 2nd ⅝ , his ability Is straightening the line in a very physical manner and his skill at offloading in heavy traffic, kicking is best left to an expert in such things. Jordan will be In dark blue before the end of the year.

  4. Some interesting picks but would have liked to have seen Tuipulotu, Schoeman, van der Merwe and Steyn rested. Like others I would also have liked to have seen Redpath in the squad.

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  5. As GT has named the touring squad, I guess he passed his self conducted appraisal and postmortem of the Six Nations with flying colours or, perhaps, like the appointments of the new CEO and Sporting Director, it hasn’t taken place yet.

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  6. No Charlie Sheil 😳 that’s a nonsense; another good genuine home-grown Scot falls by the wayside in favour of parachuted players. DvdeM going? Another non-stop season for one of our few Lions candidates.

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    • He started 2 games this season and plays in a position where we already have great depth, no reason for him to go at all.

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    • Gus Warr is consistently starting for the Sale Sharks. Charlie Shiel has played 6 matches all season for Edinburgh and only for an average of 28.5 minutes per game. “Parachuted” or not, I know which one I’d prefer to have in my team if I was selecting.

      George Horne, Jamie Dobie and Ben Afshar are all home-grown talents at 9 that are going as well so it’s an odd position to make that complaint about.

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  7. Some interesting stuff here in what can largely be seen as a development tour – and the good thing is that every one of our guys will get game time they might not otherwise. Would much rather be playing the Saffers or All Blacks, but that kind of tour seems to elude us year after year. Gus Warr is the latest Anglo-Scot to declare his allegiance, although unlikely ever to to play in a Six Nations or World Cup. Ditto Arron Reed, but good to have them on board.

    Not sure why Riche Gray is being rested given he’s only just come back after months off with injury, while brother Jonny appears to be on an extended sojourn with Lord Lucan pending his Bordeaux move. Daresay Alex Craig will hoover up his opportunity, as will Max Williamson – both of who I rate highly. Ewan Johnson is the ultimate bolter in the pack, a six-foot eight giant and now the only Scot on the Franco-Swiss border at Oyonnax.

    But Dylan Richardson? Seriously? The forgotten man, although he has reinvented himself as a hooker since his solitary cap as a sub three years ago. I laugh when I here MacBeth referred to as a South African. So would William Shakespeare, who of course famously penned the Saffer play.

    One or two surprising omissions, not least Johnny Choo-choo Matthews, Cammy Redpath and Kyle Rowe – all of who have played all season in teams at the top of their respective leagues but aren’t named among the rested. Ben Vellacott surely deserves a seat on the bus after the season he’s had, while Hiddleston must also be disappointed given his impressive breakthrough season. Harrison is however another promising youngster and surely has a bright future ahead of him.

    And finally what of Rory Hutchinson, for who this itinerary could have been made to demonstrate his worth? Townsend really doesn’t rate him for whatever peculiar reason. Probably poor judgement, just for a change.

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    • Sonsie, tours are planned years in advance when these ones came out I am sure it was post 2019 World Cup and none of the big nations wanted us.
      If we are going to stretch out Big Grays career he needs the break, I absolutely agree with you on Craig he could be exactly what we need as a dynamic 2nd row.
      Velacott I fear is too similar to Horne and doesn’t have the game management for the next step, Gus Warr is a great options and 9 with an all round game, and could take to international rugby like White did.
      Hutchinson wasn’t getting picked when he was tearing up the league no chance of getting picked now he isn’t even making the squad for his club.
      I really like the balance of the squad.

    • Dylan Richardson has probably been one of the best Sharks players for the last 3 years in a team full of Springboks. He’s been desperately unfortunate with injuries otherwise I think he would have been in many more Scotland squads over the last few years. He also started his career as a hooker so it’s not really a reinvention so much as that he now plays hooker and across the back row equally effectively. A very versatile and tenacious player.

  8. Even allowing for talented youngsters Glasgow look light at hooker. Maybe Dylan Richardson is a solution, especially if he wants to develop his Scotland career?

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    • disagree. I will be surprised if Hiddlestone isn’t no1 at Glasgow by end of next season. Mathews, with Fraser and Stewart as back ups is a good spread

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  9. Changing subject slightly-has anyone any idea when new CEO and Sporting Director will be advised -we were told by new Chairman on 2 April that we were will advanced in both searches and news likely in 4/5 weeks? We are now 10 weeks on
    Back on topic hopefully new tight heads and 2 rows make an impression but as previously posted we are lacking centre potential’

  10. No FB. (I’ve said for years I reckon Hastings is a better 15 than 10)
    I’d have had Hiddlestone, Muncaster, Redpath.
    All personal opinion.
    Need to win all the games

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    • Harry Paterson is the full back, as he was in his single cap. Backed up by Kyle Rowe, who has played well for Glasgow and Scotland this season

    • Maybe trying Hastings at FB is what GT is thinking? Shame Smith is injured, as while Kinghorn looks like he is coming on nicely over the Channel, we do need to develop some proper cover in that position. In terms of back row, agree that Muncaster deserves a chance though perhaps needs to really nail down a first choice designation at Edinburgh. Bradbury very unlucky/harshly overlooked and Miller has had some good games for Glasgow. We potentially have a minibus load of back rows, shame that they have all arrived at once since only limited places in the squad and possibly some promising careers going a begging.

  11. Surprised Vellacott isn’t selected, he’s added something to Edinburgh’s momentum this season. Also no Alex Samuel or Andy Christie, are either/both injured? Would have thought some more experienced players in the back 5 would have been rested but suppose the likes of Ritchie, M Fagerson and Darge didn’t have a full on 6N. Looks like Hutchinson has totally fallen out of favour and what with McDowall playing well and Jordan soon to qualify, maybe his boat has sailed.

    • Warks, Christie is injured and I assume Samuel missed out to Ewan Johnson. I don’t know much about Johnson so will be interesting, I like Samuel he’s a big powerful boy.
      Alex Craig will hopefully be a big beneficial of the tour, we desperately need that new blood.
      Hutchinson can’t even get in the Northampton squad at the moment, would love to see Edinburgh make a play for him at 28 he should be in his prime.

  12. I thought there would have been more young centres taken as this area in particular needs to be strengthened. I’m not sure when Tom Jordan becomes eligible to play for Scotland (on residency grounds), but if he has before the start of the tour then I would have included him instead of Huw Jones. I’ve been impressed with Jordan’s recent development, especially at centre, & with Jones turning 31 in December, age will be against him for attending the next World Cup.

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    • I would have been working on the Redpath – McDowall Partnership with Hutchinson – Currie Behind. Both pairings would complement each other.

  13. No Johnny Matthews??? Even on a development tour the Tombola still makes no sense.

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    • The youth set-up largely determines who’ll be part of the gated community throughout their careers, with the odd exception. Performance is a desired criteria.

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    • Matthews is 30, if the tour is used as development surley it makes sense not to take him. Probably gonna be Glasgow 1st choice next year and has played a lot this year so give him a summer off. They all ready know all we need to about him. Harrison, Richards and Smith need exposure in at this level. Not sure about Smith personally 3rd choice at Saints is great at 25. I may have taken Hiddleston instead.

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  14. Good to see a lot of younger players given a chance to develop. These 4 games should allow us to use all the players on tour and give them all minutes to help build depth and allow the youngsters to push their case for the more important games. The amount of young hookers is interesting and tight head as well. These guys need minutes, I wouldnt have taken Javan tbh and given Fin Richardson, Will Hurd, and Murphy Walker the games to state their cases.

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