Four new caps named in Scotland’s Six Nations training squad

Hamish Watson,  Chris Harris, Rory Sutherland and Dave Cherry are notable absentees

Gregor Townsend has named his Scotland Six Nations squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Gregor Townsend has named his Scotland Six Nations squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND has named four new caps in his 39-player Six Nations training squad, ahead of the championship kicking off against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday 3rd February.

The new boys are: Exeter Chiefs loose-head prop Alec Hepburn (who was capped six times by England in 2018 but qualifies for Scotland through his father and has completed his three-year stand-down requirement), Leicester Tigers’ tight-head Will Hurd (who represented Scotland at under-20 level as understudy to Euan McLaren, qualifying through his maternal grand-parents), Sale Sharks winger Arron Reed (who played for England Under-20s but has a Scottish father) and Edinburgh back-three man Harry Paterson.

Flanker Hamish Watson, centre Chris Harris and loose-head Rory Sutherland (who were all Test players for the Lions in 2021), as well as Edinburgh hooker Dave Cherry (who flew home early from the World Cup after suffering a concussion in the team hotel after the South Africa defeat), are notable absentees.


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In all, the squad comprises 15 players from Glasgow Warriors, 13 from Edinburgh Rugby and a further 11 who play outside Scotland.

No captain has been named for the squad.

Glasgow trio Rory Darge (knee), Jack Dempsey (fractured bone in his skull) and Kyle Steyn (ankle) are all named in the squad as they near fitness again after medium to long-term injuries.

 

Scotland squad for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations (caps in brackets):

Forwards

  • Ewan Ashman – Edinburgh Rugby (12)
  • Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby (5)
  • Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors (34)
  • Andy Christie – Saracens (4)
  • Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby (7)
  • Scott Cummings – Glasgow Warriors (33)
  • Jack Dempsey – Glasgow Warriors (15)
  • Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors (15)
  • Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby (68)
  • Richie Gray – Glasgow Warriors (78)
  • Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors (40)
  • Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors (62)
  • Alec Hepburn – Exeter Chiefs (uncapped)
  • Will Hurd – Leicester Tigers (uncapped)
  • Johnny Matthews – Glasgow Warriors (1)
  • WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby (61)
  • Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby (46)
  • Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby (26)
  • Sam Skinner – Edinburgh Rugby (30)
  • George Turner – Glasgow Warriors (40)
  • Glen Young – Edinburgh Rugby (3)

Backs

  • Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby (27)
  • Ben Healy – Edinburgh Rugby (4)
  • George Horne – Glasgow Warriors (26)
  • Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby (39)
  • Rory Hutchinson – Northampton Saints (8)
  • Huw Jones – Glasgow Warriors (43)
  • Blair Kinghorn – Toulouse (50)
  • Stafford McDowall – Glasgow Warriors  (1)
  • Harry Paterson – Edinburgh Rugby (uncapped)
  • Ali Price – Edinburgh Rugby (66)
  • Cameron Redpath – Bath Rugby (9)
  • Arron Reed – Sale Sharks (uncapped)
  • Kyle Rowe – Glasgow Warriors (1)
  • Finn Russell – Bath Rugby (75)
  • Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors (15)
  • Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors (22)
  • Duhan van der Merwe – Edinburgh Rugby (34)
  • Ben White – Toulon (18)

More to follow …


Glasgow v Toulon: Kyle Steyn and Jack Dempsey in line for Warriors returns

About David Barnes 3821 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.

70 Comments

    • Absolutely right. Playing for your country should mean something not that I’m playing for you because my country no longer want me.

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      • I am sure all players want to play at international level and for one I want to see the best players. I suspect that the likes of Dingwall will at most get a couple of caps for England if lucky when they could be regulars for Scotland, Wales, etc. Fin Smith – will be interesting to see how he develops.

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      • and he goes on to say pretty much that but thems the rules and its daft not to use them. He’s right of course. I would not have changed the eligibility clause, but it has been changed, so we use it. Take every edge you can

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      • Agreed!

        While Hepburn’s case is more unpalatable, having preferred England in the first instance thereby acquiring 6 full international caps, same argument about Dempsey from Oz.

        Nothing more to be said. WR Regulation 8 is a fact of life. Some may like it – I don’t, and the SRU’s continuing use of a provision intended to benefit Pacific Islands Nations is simply a demonstration of the paucity of our / their domestic development system and structures.

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    • The change was introduced to help the smaller Pacific island nations where the draw to play for NZ or Oz was too strong, but where they would still be useful playing lives left that could support these smaller nations …. Isn’t that the same situation re Scotland / England ….

      Even though I agree I’d rather all our players were born in Scotland, I personally have no problem with it, esp if it helps us be more competitive.

  1. Unfortunatley Mish isn’t the player he was who was selected for the Lions. Are we sure he actually wasn’t picked or has he told GT he’s out of international rugby? A season of Mish dedicated to club would be brilliant and might see his old form back again. Scotland has to accept the numbers of players aren’t there…just 2 professional clubs and pro numbers exceeded by those within a London postal address. The Irish, or rather Leinster model, is exceptional; unfortunately the powers that be in the Murrayfield Ivory Tower don’t seem to realise that, or that hey, it’s possible to replicate!! Hopefully 2 home wins though France might be pushing it, so maybe 1 home win and wins in Italy and Cardiff. Anything else a bonus. Be realistic.

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  2. I don’t get the concern or fascination with either Harris or Watson being omitted. Neither are playing at the level they once were. For the last approx 3 years Watson has looked anonymous to me at test level whenever played. His peak was being selected for mid week lions teams way back. Harris also just isn’t what he was …he is at the back end of his career. We achieved little with them playing ..so whilst neither did anyone else…we need to be trying something new in various position groups and theirs certainly amongst them.

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  3. A few interesting omissions but maybe not too many surprises overall.
    For me the Harris exclusion is logical. He has been a good servant but time for the likes of Redpath, McDowell and Hutchison to really step up in the midfield alongside Tuipulotu and Jones of course. The more surprising omission for me is Watson who has really never let Scotland down and has been a terrific servant, also he is in decent form and gives us a real fearless livewire option at 7 (even off the bench). I am not convinced he deserves to be left out of this squad. Great to see Hastings back in the mix, he has had a brutal 18 months and is showing signs of getting back to form. Healy is a good solid game manager but for me Hastings has a little more x factor overall. Finn wont last forever so that blend of Healy and Hastings in there for the coming years as stand-off options is no bad thing.

    In terms of overall prospects for Scotland this six nations, unfortunately I fear its more of the same. We are a decent side on our day but we also have a mental weakness. Our recent record in Cardiff and Dublin is outrageously poor and we travel to both this year. Wales are eminently beatable and man for man we should fancy it, but we seem to shrink immeasurably in the cauldron of the Principality and Gatland will think his side can have us psychologically stuffed which inevitably always happens down there. Our mental fragility against Ireland is embarrassing at this stage, they have the biggest of Indian signs over us. Ireland are a fine side but for us to be 36-0 down to them in that World Cup pool game is totally and utterly unacceptable, not to mention our absolute collapse in the 2nd half last year at Murrayfield when they had half their team injured and various guys out of position. The trip to Dublin in the final round of games already looks like one better watched from behind the couch.
    Italy and England are the most winnable games and of course we always seem to have a chance against the French on a given day especially at home, so there is perhaps hope there.

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    • Totally agree on the mental weakness, really think we should have a sports psychologist in the back room staff.
      Wales are definitely beatable but usually play far better than the sum of their parts, unfortunately we often do the opposite in big pressure games which is just so frustrating to say the least.

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    • I’d be very surprised if we don’t beat Wales comfortably and the team are not 100% confident of winning that game. Comfortable dispatched on them last year and their squad looks mince, the last of their Golden era have retired and the talent is not their to back it up.

      Ireland on the other hand…

      I reckon we will get 3 wins, off chance of 4 against France who we have had close games against, England going to be a lot stronger this season that last but Finn will unlock them (hope for good weather).

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  4. I hope the coaches are saying to Jamie Ritchie go prove yourself and lets see if you can show the quality we require to be captain or back row and that this is the message the coaches are saying to all players – go prove yourself, raise your game and your standards and then lets go see…

    As much as you want see a squad with confidence its the proof in the pudding which makes all the difference. Here’s me hoping the message has changed and something which has been learnt post world cup that its more than confidence needing to win games but the combined actions of ‘all’ that gets you over the line along with the grit and determination to show you mean business…

    • The Captaincy is a decision that has to be thought out, it isn’t necessarily a good idea to select the position purely on playing ability and I’m not convinced Ritchie has taken to it and much like McInally found it inhibiting, as I think about it I don’t think Hogg took to it either.

  5. A ridiculous amount of vitriol towards Townsend for what is only a squad selection and hardly any major shocks. Ok no Bradbury or Watson and Harris finally dropped and ok we never knew Hepburn was Scottish. Many have called for Hutchinson in the past so can’t grumble here. As has been the case for many years a decent set of backs with an average set of forwards and that’s the reality – nothing that a different selection is going to magically change.

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  6. No better candidate available to replace Townsend.A Scottish native,player and servant to the Scottish game long term is much better than some “quick fix” foreign coach who’s only concern will be keeping his job by way of national team results.The pathway/ grass roots development will be of no interest to guys like that as they’ll be gone back home at the end of their contracts.

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    • I would definitely prefer a foreign coach and Scottish players rather than the other way around – unfortunately the pathway programme is not good enough so I fear we will see this more and more.

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      • Agreed but sadly not realistic. Today’s announcement shows that Australia’s gain is Scotland’s missed opportunity and at least Joe Schmidt has a proven track record and will have nearly 4 years to prepare for the next World Cup. C’est la vie ecossaise.

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  7. Starting XV (injuries permitting), Kinghorn, Graham, Tui, Redpath, VDM, Russell (capt), White, Schoeman, Matthews, Zander, Young, Gray, Christie, Ritchie, Dempsey. Subs:Jones, Hutchinson, Horne, Turner, Bhatti, Hurd, Skinner, M. Fagerson

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  8. I don’t think Harris, Watson or Cherry are finished with Scotland yet. It is quite customary to begin to refresh the squad after a world cup, and one of the ways of doing that is to stand down some older players. But it doesn’t end their international careers. Other players don’t step up – in this case, Hutchinson, Bayliss and Matthews and each of them could find themselves back in the mix.
    Nel, Gilchrist, and Richie Gray are the only 3 in this squad you would say will definitely not make the 2027 world cup squad, but they are there because their likely replacements (Murphy Walker, Cameron Henderson and Johnny Gray) are injured and unavailable.
    In terms of the rest of the squad there are two things that tend to bring an end to an international career – wear and tear through age or loss of appetite for it through ‘miles on the clock’. George Turner, Huw Jones and Finn Russell may struggle to make 2027 because of age, but in terms of appetite, all three of them seem eager enough to play for another four years

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  9. The Wales game is absolutely critical for Scotland/GT
    V Wales – I’d go
    Hastings Graham Tuipulotu Redpath VDM Russell (c) White
    Crosbie Ritchie M.Fagerson Gray Young Z.Fagerson Matthews Schoeman
    REPS
    Kinghorn Jones Horne
    Christie Gilchrist Nel Turner Bhatti

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  10. We are spoiled for choice with the current crop of backs – some seriously good players are not going to get game time this 6N. Our best is good enough to beat Wales and Italy and England (but if it rains then expect the usual turgid slugfest with the English). But our pack – Crosbie aside – is going to get bullied again by the French and Irish whilst our own bullies (Bradbury, Kebble and probably Glen Young who will be overlooked) will be watching on at home with a carryout! Watching some domestic French games live the past months on TV, some of those French forwards should carry an “X” rated warning. Most of them are seriously big units capable of causing serious GBH at the collisions! Interestingly, the French commentators during those games keep saying those big units are necessary in the modern game if you want to compete with the likes of South Africa! “Horses for Courses” is the mantra in current international rugby. The pack that is capable of beating Wales and Italy is not the same pack that will beat France and Ireland but Toony, as usual, plans to run the big French pack off the park … in the middle of February in Edinburgh! I predict our 6N will go exactly as Tom English predicted in a recent column – without a colossus, ripples but not waves. Hope I am proved wrong.

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      • Our own bully, Finn Russell !!

        Did you see him tackle the big French Lock at the weekend, and several other notable tackles in the same game … I for one was very impressed!!

  11. The decisions that really count won’t be made by Gregor Townsend. They’ll be made by the players on the hoof and in the heat of battle. Let’s all of us get behind those players and help motivate them to four, maybe, five victories. Come on you floo’ers.

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  12. The most glaring omissions is the Mish, which for me is a reckless call. Harris looks like he’s had his day in a Scotland jersey, while Sutherland was last seen somewhere near the French-Swiss border at Oyonnax and has since disappeared off the RADAR. With the retirement of Hogg, the Lions from the last tour have been cleared out faster than a good old-fashioned Scottish ruck and Ali Price can count himself lucky that Jamie Dobie is only just returning from long-term injury.

    Christie has been knocking down walls at Saracens, but finds himself in possibly the most competitive area of the Scotland team. His height and dynamism may yet get him a game and Townsend has gambled on Dempsey, Ritchie and Darge all getting match-fit in no short order. Bayliss deserves his pick despite being likewise injured and was unlucky not to make the Scotland World Cup squad. Gutted for the injured youngster Cammy Henderson, who but for injury could well have had a breakthrough year at lock. With Gilchrist and Gray Senior in their autumn years, his time will come soon enough. Brother Jonny has been absent for months and months.

    Very few new faces – which sums up the stagnation in Scottish rugby development – but great to see Harry Paterson make the squad, for he is a player with a potentially bright future. Only slight in build, but then so was his namesake Chris. Big boots to fill mind. Also delighted to see Rory Hutchinson included, for he is an exciting in-form player too long ignored. But he is competing for a place in another of the most toughly contested areas of the field and I suspect Toony doesn’t trust his defensive abilities enough to give him a shot. Not with Redpath, Jones and Tuipo all available. Big Stafford has come on in leaps ands bounds, but I don’t see him getting the ticket to ride either.

    Can’t say I’m wowed by the new batch of Anglo-Scots. Reed just isn’t good enough in my view, Hepburn is knocking on 30 and we need tight heads more, while I’ve not noticed much about Hurd at Leicester. Would love to have got Finn Smith, but realistically I reckon he is headed for being England’s first choice pretty soon – certainly a better all-rounder than wee Marcus. The question was obviously put to Scots-born Tom Roebuck, but he too is knocking on the door and I fear is lost.

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    • Sonsie, you say very new faces and i agree… while your point may hold some validity on development (i’d argue against this), is it not also true that this is the strongest squad and depth we have had in the professional era, (except a few positions) and so making the squad to begin with has become significantly harder compared to 5, 10, 15 years ago when we regular wooden spoon candidates? Could that be contributing to the idea that there is no new players being develop to a high standard?

      I’m seeing plenty of young quality talent emerging in Edinburgh/Glasgow who would get into previous squads easily. Sykes, Boyle, Muncaster, Currie, Paterson, Fraser, Hiddleston, Samuel, Williamson, Brown, Afshar, Thompson. All have performed very well and held their own at club level against good teams. (look at the game against Exeter). Is it in part just harder for them to get game-time to establish themselves because both pro teams and the international squad are so much more competitive (despite not winning anything).

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      • AG2, you’re right but is this not the start of another 4 year cycle that culminates in the next world cup?
        The youngsters you mentioned should at least start to be integrated into the training camps. Are Development tours going to be a thing of the past with this latest world rugby tournament?
        The majority over 32/33 yo in todays squad probably won’t see the next WC (except WP Nel of course!)
        We need to start polishing some diamonds

      • I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. We do have some serious talent coming through in Glasgow/Edinburgh. Both coaches at the Clubs are fully briefed by the SRU that part of their role is to develop that talent. Its a difficult balance but they are getting more game time this year.

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      • I agree, but only partly. You have mentioned some promising players, with Ashfar in particular catching my eye after bursting onto the scene at age 20 and making a very good impression pretty much instantly. Hiddleston’s high-pressure debut was mighty and no wonder he was getting pats on the back from his team mates. He is one for the future and could certainly teach some of our older guys a thing or two about throwing straighter and finding their man. I’m also a great Muncaster fan and very much regret that he has been injured of late, while the two locks at Glasgow show real promise and its been great to see them getting so much game time recently. Currie is showing some good signs and I look forward to being totally won over.

        But with only two professional teams we are unlikely to develop real strength in depth, in contrast to the Irish who now have a well-established youth setup and a conveyor belt of new talent. Consequently our coverage is patchy, for example we are are neck-deep in quality scrum halves yet haven’t a good young tight head in sight – other than long-term injured Murphy Walker. The bottom line is that three of the four new faces in that squad play their rugby south of the border and have not been developed by our system. It hurts, but we need to be tougher on ourselves and demand more.

        Just to be controversial, yes we’ve had the most talented batch of players we’ve had for some time, but we haven’t ever fired a shot when it really matters and they have consequently won hee-haw. Which is a scandal given their potential and I think a better coach would have got much more out of them. It is a travesty that we’ve had seven years treading water since Big Vern’s departure and squandered a golden crop. Hopefully the SRU’s new broom will net us a better system that genuinely grows the game and sees the U20s returning to top tier rugby. And a senior team that at last lives up to the hype and does the nation proud.

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    • Few new faces = stagnation !!! If you look at our most successful period new faces were few. A successful squad is built on stability with the introduction of a few new players, some to challenge the incumbents and others to learn.

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  13. We needed to make coaching changes …and of course have not.
    Squad selection …uninspiring and expected.
    Can see results and performances reaching a new low…GT eventually sacked. His interview on squad selection said it all for me….he spoke like he had the winning lottery ticket but dropped it down the city sewer system.
    Will see what players are left when squad is narrowed for start of 6N. The usual….
    Captain?…not sure Ritchie even starts ..let alone captain…ditto Gilchrist.

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    • Who would you replace GT with?

      I think Russell or Tuipolotu should captain, both well respected and importantly guaranteed to start.

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      • Who should replace GT ? Anybody.

        GT has had more than a reasonable time at the helm. I think that Dodson said at the AGM that a post mortem after the WC with GT had not yet taken place. If it still has not happened, why not, and Dodson should not be involved. If it has, why have we not been advised of the outcome ? The extension of GT’S contract before the WC was a nonsense. If we can afford Dodson who is now going to be leaving, surely a revamped SRU Board can afford an international coach with a track record and good reputation. What might Farrell or his like have achieved with Scotland ? We shall never be world beaters but should consistently punch above our weight.

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      • Let’s keep Finn Russell away from the captaincy. He doesn’t need to be breaking his concentration to debate a dodgy breakdown penalty or a collapsed scrum with the referee. Leave him to concentrate on his unique brand of “finntastic” rugby he has carried from Paris to Bath.

      • Should TOL’s faithful be grateful that Edinburgh fanatic Mr MacGregor regularly drops in his (faux) pearls of comprehensive lunacy from so far away in cloud cuckoo land?

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  14. The manner in which Hamish Watson has been dealt with by Townsend is really quite appalling. For the majority of GT’s reign, he has been by far and above our best, and most consistent performer. I’m not implying he deserves a ‘sympathy pick’ – he’s still one of Edinburgh’s best players week-in, week-out and a very popular member of the squad. I have no doubt that he has had big offers to move throughout his career, but has stayed loyal to Edinburgh and the SRU – that loyalty has not been repaid, and it seems a shame that he won’t be bowing out of international rugby on his own terms. A classic, swashbuckling ‘Mish’ performance against Romania could end up being his last ever appearance in a Scotland jersey; it may have just been ‘Romania’, but he couldn’t have done much more to force his way into the squad for the Ireland match – I’m not suggesting he’d have changed the result, but Darge went missing in that one and we were crying out for someone with Hamish’s experience, power and quality. Seemed a strange omission at the time, as does this one. Almost personal (like many of GT’s other omissions in the past…

    For that reason, I do not understand for the life of me why Townsend was handed a new deal at the beginning of last year. As I mentioned above, he seems to be a terrible people person (jettonising Finn multiple times, stripping Hogg of captaincy via text, Watson, Barclay, McInally, Hastings all treated poorly…the list could go on and on).

    In my view, he has wasted a golden era of Scottish Rugby. Sure, we have had a couple of big away wins (England x 2 ,France and Wales during Covid). But the reality is, all we really have to show for it is two RWCs where we have been knocked out in the group stages and 2 x 3rd place finishes in the 6Ns in six years…

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    • I’d agree up to but not including his dealings with Hogg & Russell.

      As is coming out now since retirement, Hogg was clearly a problem. His ego and selfishness would have seen him booted out of most national squads by the time he got to 50 caps.

      Russell walked out of a national camp. Again, he’d never have got back into most international set ups for that alone.

      I think Townsend is dog meat at this stage but I’m prepared to cut him slack for having to deal with an influential handful of brats who knew they were undroppable.

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      • Every player is droppable to any coach with half decent man management skills but a huge ego like Towensend could not deal with another huge ego that was Hogg instead he makes him captain. Hogg is showing his true colours in his private life or during his time at Exeter if even half the rumours and stories circulating are correct.

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      • Noone who has met Finn could sensibly describe him as a brat. Utterly ludicrous comment. You won’t find a more down to earth guy who even when out of the squad was in contact with the 10s to offer advice on how to play. Glad to see back of Harris finally but a forward pack that was bullied by Ire n SA somehow doesn’t have any room for Bradbury?? We don’t have any other dependable robust ball carriers. Usual Tonny Tombola. Some ludicrous picks who haven’t shown anything over other challengers apart from the fact they aren’t actually Scottish which we know GT n SRU are easily hypnotised by.

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    • Test level has moved on….dedicated 7s are a waste of a shirt. Backrow players need to be able to move around the back row as needed. Watson v Romania works out ok….Watson v any tier 1 does not.

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      • Respectfully disagree on both fronts. I’m particularly intrigued why you feel Watson v any tier 1 does not work? Do you have any proof of that? Because there is plenty of evidence to back up that it does!

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  15. I count 22 non SRU trained players. It’s at the point where the team is called Scotland on a notional basis as homegrown players are the largest minority. A jersey of convenience for test cap tourists.

    It won’t belong now till the likes of Georgia, Portugal and Spain start making some big noise about this to World Rugby.

    We’re the rugby equivalent of MG and Jaguar cars.

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    • My count is only 20 (10 forwards and 10 backs), but still your point stands – getting a bit ridiculous now. Personally see no reason for Arron Reed to be called in, seeing as Steyn should be back in time and we have Kyle Rowe and Harry Patterson. Hoping that Reed will just fill the role McConnochie had last year i.e training squad member.

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  16. Interesting selection, glad to see Mathews there and Hutchinson. Surprised about Watson the few times I have watched Edinburgh he looked very good. Just wondering if the lack of Bradbury , who I think has done well at Bristol, is something to do with the Bears signing Mata , maybe Bradbury is being let go and Gregor has picked up on that. I also think the Kinghorn at 10 experiment is over, he goes at 15, good enough for Toulouse good enough for Gregor.

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  17. GT has picked another player who is fully capped already this time with England using the rule that was to help the pacific island nations. It is a bloody joke and the sooner we get rid of GT the better. Sticks two fingers up to all aspiring loose heads and no wonder playing numbers in Scotland are in free fall. Tighthead is no better and certainly tells the likes of McCallum, Rae and others than they can forget about playing for Scotland whilst the worse man manager masquerading as a coach is in charge. It has been 7 years of underachievement, failed experiments, scatter gun tactics and playing style (sorry what is Scotlands playing style???) abject world cup failure and using the once proud navy jersey of Scotland as a flag of convenience for anyone who wants to play international rugby. Sad to say but I hope we have a disastrous 6N so that we can get the change we so desperately need. He should have been gone after Japan and in reality should never have been given the job in the first place. In all likely hood we are going to see a player who weas born in Australia played 15 times for England U20s, twice for the saxons and 6 full caps now pull on the blue of Scotland and bang out Flower of Scotland. The game of rugby and its traditions which i loved with all my passion has gone for good as this is so not right in so many ways. Are we or sorry should I say the Murrayfield regime so desperate for success that they think that this appropriate despite the rules and what others may do.

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    • Nice bit of old fashioned racism there Alan. Grow up. Townsends job is to pick the best team, regardless of background, they all have ties to Scotland.

      If Mccallum or Rae were good enough they would be in the squad. Mccallum can barely get a bench spot at Newcastle and has had plenty of chances. Rae is seriously overrated by a few on here, if he was international quality, Glasgow and Bath would not let him go, and He would of at least cemented a bench spot at Edinburgh. Nothing Stopped Zander Fagerson from stepping up and claiming the Jersey as his own, a homegrown Scottish Talent.

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      • AngryGala2 good to see you are still a acting like what you are.

        My point is nothing to do with racism it is IMHO an utter nonsense nonsense that you can now be fully capped for more than one country.

        In this case at every level available, U20, A Level (Saxons) then a full 6N season and his dad was still Scottish when he was no doubt delighted to play for England.

        However, now that he is deemed not good enough for them he can now thanks to that self same dad suddenly become “Scottish” come and play for us.

        You normally cannot have your cake and eat it but in professional rugby you can. Play for one country then when out of favour get in touch with ancestry.com to check out your family tree and change allegience. Hepburn is a good player of that there is no doubt but I am totally against this ridiculous rule now being abused by Tier 1 nations as it is not just Scotland.

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    • McCallum and Rae probably need to play regularly for their clubs before playing for Scotland. Especially if that club is as poor as Newcastle.

    • I think the biggest message for the props you mention is that if they can’t get in their club side they ain’t playing for Scotland. GTs job is to pick the strongest available squad. If these guys learnt their rugby in England but are SQ so what?

  18. GT has picked another player who is fully capped already this time with England using the rule that was to help the pacific island nations. It is a bloody joke and the sooner we get rid of GT the better. Sticks two fingers up to all aspiring loose heads and no wonder playing numbers in Scotland are in free fall. Tighthead is no better and certainly tells the likes of McCallum, Rae and others than they can forget about playing for Scotland whilst the worse man manager masquerading as a coach is in charge. It has been 7 years of underachievement, failed experiments, scatter gun tactics and playing style (sorry what is Scotlands playing style???) abject world cup failure and using the once proud navy jersey of Scotland as a flag of convenience for anyone who wants to play international rugby. Sad to say but I hope we have a disastrous 6N so that we can get the change we so desperately need. He should have been gone after Japan and in reality should never have been given the job in the first place. In all likely hood we are going to see a player who weas born in Australia played 15 times for England U20s, twice for the saxons and 6 full caps now pull on the blue of Scotland and bang out Flower of Scotland. The game of rugby and its traditions which i loved with all my passion has gone for good as this is so not right in so many ways. Are we or sorry should I say the Murrayfield regime so desperate for success that they think that this appropriate despite the rules and what others may do.

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    • I don’t agree with all your comment but I do agree that the selection of ‘dropped’ Full Cap Internationals is yet another World Rugby myopic and questionable diktat.
      All they had to do was to say only teams below a certain world ranking could take advantage because they were never going to stop countries Poaching players into their academy system from the South Seas, and we know the usual suspects.
      I’ve had to become myopic myself to the Residency Jersey and support those that like WP and others, but picking up 2nd hand former opponents is just a bit too far for my liking.
      As ever other views are available.

  19. Definitely think Bradbury worth another look. Plus Vellacott and one of the young locks (Sykes/Hodgson). Darge doubtful but no Hamish? Ritchie or Christie to start at 7 I suppose. Had no idea Hepburn was qualified, not the we’re short at loose head. Unlike tighthead where Hurd may prove a useful addition. Reed quite handy as well. Glad Hutchinson & Bayliss back in. Hope they get a run to show what they can do. And still prefer Hastings to Healy as back up to Finn. So overall quite happy with the squad bar one or two reservations. Now let’s hope they go well.

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  20. Bradbury tends to go forward in contact. Also doesn’t spill the ball as often as Schoeman so there’s no danger of him joining the team.

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    • Looks like a farewell at international level to Watson & Harris & Cherry.
      GT clearly not impressed by Edinburgh/Glasgow back up props.
      No Zach Mercer or Bradbury maybe Crosbie at/covering 8??
      I still like Hastings at 15

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      • If Mercer was interested in playing for us under the current regime, then surely he would have been picked for the World Cup when he was playing in France.

        Pretty certain that he (and his father) made their views clear about playing for Scotland when he was dropped from the Pathways squad and moved from GHA to Bath.

      • My understanding is that Mercer was born in England to non-Scottish parents with no Scottish ancestry. He was eligible to play for Scotland through schooling and represented Scotland U16 at but was offered a pro contract with Bath when the SRU would only offer an academy place. The SRU then refused to pick him for Scotland U18 when he accepted the Bath job. He can only be eligible for Scotland by moving north and qualifying through residency. Hopefully for him, the England coaches wise up and get him back in their national set up.

      • Thinking it though, as Mercer has been capped by England and has no Scottish lineage, I don’t think he’d be eligible to qualify for us via residency and the “3 years since last cap” rule also doesn’t apply. He could play for NZ given his Dad is a Kiwi.

      • Did you see Hastings kicking at the weekend, if so, sadly, you would not be suggesting him at FB. I like the guy, but he needs a lot of rugby to get back to international level.

  21. Wasn’t it worth having a look again at Bradbury? He’s playing well and he has the size. Surely the type of player we need right now. Seems the injured Dempsey is the only clear 8 in the squad

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    • I’d have wanted to see Bradbury there but with GT’s approach to previous selections I had little confidence that Bradbury would make it in. TBF I did think the same would apply to Hutchinson and am pleased to see his name listed. Probably the need for fullback coverage worked in RH’s favour whereas Bayliss, Crosbie and M Fagerson can cover No.8.

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      • Hutchinson has been defending very physically this season (likely due to him having to fight for his place with Freeman switching to centre) more competition = better players.

        While i would pick Bradbury and start him, his work rate is not great compared to Dempsey or Fagerson, and Townsend is all about dynamic fast ball play. I reckon Bradbury’s pros outweight his cons.. never goes backwards in contact, what we need against France in particular.

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