SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has named 14 uncapped players in his 36-man Autumn Test Series training squad which will convene at Oriam High Performance centre on the western outskirts of Edinburgh on Sunday to begin preparation for the team’s match against Tonga at Murrayfield on 30th October.
This includes four players who have not been involved in the squad before, who are Pierre Schoeman (loose-head prop), Marshall Sykes (second-row) and Charlie Savala (stand-off) of Edinburgh, plus Dylan Richardson of Cell-C Sharks (who can play back-row and hooker but is described as a flanker in today’s press release). Richardson qualifies to play for Scotland through his father.
The three home-based Scots on this summer’s Lions tour – Zander Fagerson, Ali Price and Hamish Watson – are all involved, but English/French-based Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe, Chris Harris, Finn Russell and Rory Sutherland are missing for this first game which has been scheduled outside the international Test window.
Scotland’s non-homebased contingent will be added to the squad next Wednesday.
Notable absentees include uncapped scrum-half Ben Vellacott, who has been in fine form since joining Edinburgh this summer, tight-head prop Simon Berghan (who has missed Glasgow’s last two games with an Achilles injury), Warriors second-row duo Scott Cummings (injured) and Richie Gray, Warriors stand-off Duncan Weir, his Edinburgh counterpart Jaco van der Walt and Edinburgh hooker Dave Cherry.
There is a return to the international fold for tight-head Murray McCallum, who picked-up a short-term contract with Glasgow Warriors during the summer until the end of the year after being released by Edinburgh.
20-year-old FOSROC Academy member Matt Currie impressed when he got his chance with Edinburgh playing three matches at the tail-end of last season before picking up a shoulder injury. He played his first match of the current season for Watsonians in Super6 last Sunday, registering a man-of-the-match display in a big win over Ayrshire Bulls, and his huge potential is recognised with a call-up to this squad.
65' | TRY @WATSONIANFC
Matt Currie shows his skills in his first game back after a long lay off to seal a sixth try for Watsonians this afternoon.
— FOSROC Super6 (@Super6Rugby) October 10, 2021
“It has been great to see both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors make positive starts to their URC campaigns driven by some standout performances from both young and established players,” said Townsend.
“With four tough Test matches ahead of us in this year’s Autumn Nations Series it is important we bring players together early, connect with them as coaches and enable them to grow as a group before the campaign gets underway against Tonga at BT Murrayfield. We’ll then move on to the challenge of facing in-form Australia, World Champions South Africa and a very dangerous Japan team.
“We are pleased with the depth we are able to call upon to make up this training squad and it provides a genuine opportunity for players to put their hand up for selection to the full Autumn Nations Series squad.”
Scotland’s Autumn Nations Training Squad:
- Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps
- Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
- Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps
- Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
- Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks – uncapped
- Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
- Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
- Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
- Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
- Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
- Murray McCallum – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
- George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
- Fraser Brown – Glasgow Warriors – 54 caps
- Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
- Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
- Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
- Damien Hoyland – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
- Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
- Cole Forbes – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
- Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
- Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
- Matt Currie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
- James Lang – Edinburgh Rugby – 6 caps
- Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
- Jack Blain – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
- Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
- Charlie Savala – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
- Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
- George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps
- Jamie Dobie – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped