Six Nations: Adam Hastings and Will Hurd out of Scotland squad – Elliot Millar-Mills called up

Javan Sebastian and Jamie Dobie will also train with the squad as they continue their recovery from injury

Elliot Millar-Mills in Edinburgh colours during his short spell in the Scottish capital last season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Elliot Millar-Mills in Edinburgh colours during his short spell in the Scottish capital last season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

ELLIOT MILLAR-MILLS –  who currently plays for Northampton Saints having previously had two spells with Edinburgh (one on a permanent contract in 2017-18 when he made four bench appearances and one loan deal in 2022-23 when he made one bench appearance) – has been called into Scotland’s Six Nations training squad as a replacement for fellow uncapped tight-head Will Hurd, who has a foot injury.

Gloucester stand-off Adam Hastings has also dropped out of the squad with a knee injury, with no replacement announced at  this stage. It is the latest setback for the 27-year-old, who has spent considerable periods on the sidelines during the last 18 months, including a knee injury (two months from November 2022 to January 2023), a shoulder injury (four months from January to April 2023), a foot injury (suffered playing for a World XV against the Barbarians in May 2023 which limited his involvement in Scotland’s World Cup training squad last summer) and another knee injury (three months from October to December 2023).

Millar-Mills, who has previously played for England Counties, qualifies for Scotland through his mother and has played 15 times for Saints this season, with two starts and 13 bench appearances. The 31-year-old started his playing career with Stockport and Macclesfield, before a successful trial period with Leeds Carnegie led to a move to Edinburgh, followed by three years at Ealing Trailfinders, and then a season at Wasps.


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Following Wasps’ plunge into administration, Millar-Mills had short-term deals with Bath as well as Edinburgh, before joining Northampton at the start of the season.

He will be aiming to follow in his sister Bridget’s footsteps who has represented the Scotland women’s national team, while his other sister, Harriet, played for England women.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend claimed at last week’s Six Nations squad announcement that he was comfortable with Scotland’s resources at tight-head prop at the moment.

“There are not many but we have more depth than ever before,” he said. “WP [Nel] is playing the best rugby of his career. He played 72 minutes both games against Glasgow and made 20 tackles a game so that is great. A couple of years ago we never thought WP would still be playing but he is, and playing well. Javan Sebastian was going really well and did well against Castres before getting his injury. He should be back available by the start of the tournament, might just miss the first couple of games.

“D’Arcy Rae is back at Edinburgh, Angus Williams [is at Edinburgh too], and Will Hurd now becomes available for us.

“Murphy Walker, who was in the wider World Cup squad, is coming back from injury and will be back for round one or two [of the Six Nations].”

“Clearly Zander Fagerson is our leading tight-head and has been for a number of years and that showed what Glasgow think of him playing him 80 minutes in a Champions Cup game and he was still going well at the end of the game.”

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Jamie Dobie will also train with the squad as they continue their recovery from injury.

 

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

Forwards

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

Backs

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

Six Nations: Gregor Townsend explains Scotland captaincy switch

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.

20 Comments

  1. So much for my plan to play Hastings at 15.
    My fear is teams know exactly what
    to do to beat us, SA and Ireland showed it in the World Cup. Stop Finn Russell/flood the space around Finn Russell.
    Now it takes a good team to do that these days but it would’ve been nice to have that ball playing option.

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  2. Just a quick Question
    When would Zac Mercer be eligible to play for Scotland, given England’s coaching teams lack of desire to engage with him ?

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  3. Just a quick Question
    When would Zac Mercer be eligible to play for Scotland, given England’s coaching teams lack of desire to engage with him ?

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      • Interesting sir, what about previous residency? Played for Scotland u16 and stayed in Scotland for about 10 years

      • He was born in England and has no Scottish lineage so he doesn’t qualify under the 3 year rule. Even though he was resident in Scotland as a child and for some of his teens, he still has to go through the residency thing again

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      • In fact scrap my previous post, he can’t play for Scotland now at all even with residency so that ship has sailed

  4. Look at the Irish pack – it’s not all about size..

    It’s the fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight… agree that it needs more aggression in there but can’t help feel that’s an inbuilt mindset – Hines wasn’t the biggest or best ball player, but he was one of the hardest…

    Gotta really feel for Adam, what does he have to do to get a run of decent luck..

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    • The biggest myth peddled is that Scots are just physically smaller than the rest. Most people in Britain and Ireland are genetically indistinguishable. We can put out packs as tall as the rest. The issue is that the likes of the Gray’s, Gilchrist, Cummings, Ritchie and Crosbie, who are all 6’4 plus, look like they never see a weight bench outside of pre-season.

      Compare them with James Ryan, Will Rowlands, most English back 5 players, never mind Southern Hemisphere ones. It’s obvious that they lift heavier weights more often. It really is as simple as that.

      There is no excuse for that lack of physical development in our back 5 players.

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      • Sorry but just nonsense to suggest our players are not training hard. Part of the issue with a small player pool is that you will have less very large players, so they are less likely to come with the natural ball skills, athleticism and aggressive mindset that marks out the best in the world.

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      • I do not think this is all about whether they are gym bunnies or not. I think there are two areas where we fall down when it comes to the really big tests. 1) Lack of winning mentality. The Irish for example have been serial winners since the turn of the century, both at club and test level. Its inbuilt within their entire approach and mentality, they dont fear anybody and they believe they should be winning the big prizes. Leinster in particular has an absolute culture of excellence, a winning machine from top to bottom. We simply dont have that, we are the perennial underdog and we dont expect to win anything other than the odd big game. b) Competition for places, this feeds into the above obviously. Scotland’s academies and development setup is very poor, we dont produce large numbers and we dont produce world class players in many positions. When we find a few decent forwards or backs they tend to be thrust into the Glasgow/Edinburgh set ups then national team setup and we probably at times pin our hopes on some players, the reality is that these lads dont go through the same rigorous forms of competition for places that their counterparts in NZ, SA, England, Ireland or France do. So for example to make it as a Leinster and Ireland prop or back rower, you will have gone through the mill against a plethora of very very decent competitive guys with very little between them in terms of quality. When it comes to then playing at the top level for both club and country, I believe these lads are far more battle hardened and better conditioned. They know a slip off in standards means they could fall down the pecking order very quickly and become forgeotten men, because the competition and academy depth is so fierce. This drives excellence, it drives standards upwards.

  5. Poor old Adam. Really tough for him and Will Hurd. Millar-Mills? Good luck to him. Hope he goes well if he gets a run. I suppose D’Arcy Rae hasn’t had enough game time this season. Still, all of a sudden our tighthead situation looks a bit brighter. Zander, WP, Sebastian, Hurd, Millar-Mills, Rae. Strength in depth at last.

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  6. Gosh can’t poor Adam get a break? If the knee is a constant problem maybe he needs another doc to look at it.
    Prop is an issue for us but so are the locks if you look at France, Ireland, England they have the gnarly bulk at 4 & 5 that we lack. Oh for another Nathan Hines or even a Scott Murray.

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    • Nailed it Rodb. Richie Gray is your traditional Scottish lock: rangy, excellent at lineout time, good handling skills. The second row requires balance too just as a back-row and centres do – look at all the winning international teams and there’s variety. Cummings for me – and I appreciate it’s an unpopular opinion – is powderpuff at international level; his skillset is similar to Richie’s, just not as good. The lad tries his heart out, as does Gilchrist, but both lack physical presence at that level. Just watch past games where we’ve started Cummings against Ireland and he’s consistently beaten at the lineout (the Irish really attack the throw) besides virtually anonymous in the physicality stakes.
      I don’t particularly like it, being a Scot brought up to believe running rugby is the way, but the ugly, power, kicking game is the winning brand at the moment. Skinner’s the closest we’ve got to a brute in the second row though i’m liking the look of the lad Williamson coming through at Glasgow.

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      • totally agree in reference to Cummings as I have always thought that he was a great athlete but powderpuff. All great second row partnerships tend to have a blend of athleticism and grunt but the athleticism is also blessed with grunt such as World cup winning South Africa play Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert together. We just dont have any extremely physical and dominant back five let alone second row. Easy to put us on the backfoot making it easy to close down Russell that is why the likes of South Africa can shut us out so effectively. As the old saying goes “a good big un will always beat a good little un”

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      • I think there are options to mitigate the deficit, both within the squad he’s picked and outwith. Trouble is none of it fits Townsend’s narrative of how the game ought to be played which is the braw ‘n bonnie, flashy way of playing. Personally i’d rather win every game 6-3 than score showy tries but be on the wrong side of the scoreline. My main concern with our most destructive players like Crosbie and Bradbury is they tend to drift in and out of games – whether it’s a fitness issue or temperamental.
        I think calls for the Mish are misplaced though: aye he’s been a terrific servant but he also looked like he was on cruise control for a long time and the only times he came to life to do his ‘pinball’, He-man thing are after a benching or squad ommission; even when he has come on in such circumstances he quickly runs out of steam these days. It shouldn’t require a rocket to show up for your country.

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  7. Funnily enough, many Toulouse fans were pleading for BK to be used at 10 a few weeks when Ramos had some bad games. Would not rule it out for later in the Top 14.

    Feel very sorry for Adam, the guy has had no luck.

  8. Presumably BK still seen as FH cover and hence no immediate replacement for Hastings. Haven’t seen McCallum play and appreciate Newcastle aren’t exactly storming up the Eng Prem but strange that he doesn’t even feature in conversation around tight head cover, especially as Rae is mentioned and probably had less game time this season. Hopefully Walker and Hurd really progress during the rest of the season and we might have the kind of depth GT is telling us we have.

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  9. Did not see that one coming despite GTs reputation for pulling rabbits out of hats and the likes Rae and Williams do not even register on his radar despite referring to them last week as pointed out. GT seems to be losing the plot but at least he reads the OL as he was suited and booted at the 6N launch unlike when informing the scottish rugby public who are obviously not worthy.

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