SEAN MAITLAND has dropped out of the Scotland squad which is preparing for their final match of this year’s Six Nations against France in Paris on Friday night.
It is understood that the one-off agreement between PRL (the umbrella group which represents the top clubs in England) and Six Nations provides for only a limited number of English-based players to be released for this match, which is being played outside the international window.
Head coach Gregor Townsend appears to have taken the view that he has sufficient back-three coverage to live without Maitland this week, with captain Stuart Hogg, centre Chris Harris, scrum-half Scott Steele, and second-rows Sam Skinner and Alex Craig the five English-based players retained in the squad.
Jamie Bhatti of Bath appears to be in the same boat as Maitland, having been left off the updated squad list which was published at noon today having been a replacement the last two weekends.
Jonny Gray has also dropped out of the squad because he hasn’t recovered from the shoulder injury which kept him out of Saturday’s victory over Italy.
The other English-based players to drop out are Sale Sharks hooker Ewan Ashman, Worcester Warriors back-row Cornell du Preez, Harlequins utility-back James Lang, and Saracens centre Duncan Taylor.
The availability of all of these players, plus those English-based players who have been retained in the squad, was up in the air until an eleventh-hour compensation deal for player release was finally brokered on Saturday night.
Saracens were part of that negotiated agreement as shareholders in PRL, despite their relegation from the Premiership last season as a consequence of salary cap breaches.
Edinburgh duo Ally Miller and Damien Hoyland are also not involved this week.
Meanwhile, Adam Hastings, who made his comeback from suspension for Warriors on Sunday, gets an instant recall to the squad.
Grant Stewart of Glasgow Warriors comes in as third hooker in the squad. Fraser Brown, who played his first game after 15 weeks out with a neck injury in Warriors’ defeat to Dragons on Sunday, has not been called up.
Winger Rufus McLean, who scored a wonder try for Warriors on Sunday, is in the squad, having been called up during the build-up to last week’s game.
- Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
- David Cherry (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
- Alex Craig (Gloucester) – 1 cap
- Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
- Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps
- Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 43 caps
- Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
- Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
- Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
- Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 42 caps
- Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
- Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 11 caps
- Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
- Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
- George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps
- Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
- Jamie Dobie (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
- Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
- Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 26 caps
- Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
- Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN – 83 caps
- Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
- Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
- Rufus McLean (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
- Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 8 caps
- Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 40 caps
- Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 54 caps
- Scott Steele (Harlequins) – 4 caps
- Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh) – 2 caps