Updated: Scotland v France: six in and five out as Townsend adjusts squad for Les Bleus clash

Cam Redpath is unavailable due to a neck injury

Oli Kebble [centre] and Marshall Sykes [left of photo] have been added to Scotland's Six Nations training squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Oli Kebble [centre] and Marshall Sykes [left of photo] have been added to Scotland's Six Nations training squad. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND has added six players to his Six Nations Squad ahead of Saturday’s round three clash against France, while five players including Cam Redpath, who has a neck injury, have dropped out of the group.

James Lang (centre), Ollie Smith (full-back), Oli Kebble (prop), Simon Berghan (tight-head prop), Kiran McDonald (second-row) and Marshall Sykes (second-row) have met up with the Scotland squad at the base in west Edinburgh, while Rory Sutherland (rib injury), Javan Sebastian, Jonny Gray (ankle injury), Scott Cummings (knee injury) and Redpath have returned to their clubs.

A statement from Scottish Rugby said the injured players will “continue to be assessed in the coming weeks ahead of the remaining two games against Italy and Ireland”.


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Meanwhile, assistant coach AB Zondagh was cagey during his press briefing mid-afternoon today [Monday] about the prognosis for Redpath. “For the moment he is ruled out for this week and being assessed for an injury,” he said. “We are still waiting to hear back but he is definitely out for this week. He has an injury to his neck. The severity of that we don’t know but he has been ruled out this week and hopefully we will have more information on that in the next couple of days.”

Zondagh wasn’t much more forthcoming when it came to Matt Fagerson, who suffered a foot injury after 30 minutes of Scotland defeat to Wales but remains part of the squad. “Matt is with us at the moment and he will be assessed and we will see how he goes during the course of the week,” he said. “He is in camp and with us. More than that, I can’t give you at the moment. He is being assessed by a specialist at Spire Hospital and is back in camp with us so hopefully in the next day or two we will have more information on that.”

31-times capped Glasgow Warriors tight-head prop Berghan is a direct replacement for Sebastian, having recovered from the achilles injury which sidelined him for the first half of the season. 11-times capped Kebble can play both sides of the front-row but is likely to challenge Allan Dell for back-up to Pierre Schoeman at loose-head this week.

Sykes (who made his international debut against Tonga in the autumn) and McDonald (uncapped) come in due to the injuries suffered by Gray and Cummings, and join Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner and Jamie Hodgson as the recognised second-rows in the side.

Meanwhile, Lang is a like-for-like replacement for Redpath, while Smith appears to have been rewarded for his fine recent club form.

Having been ruled out of the opening two Guinness Six Nations games through concussion, Josh Bayliss made an impressive return at the weekend, scoring a try for Bath in a defeat to Leicester Tigers, and he will be available for selection.

“While it is disappointing to lose players to injury ahead of the France match, this is a great opportunity for the new players to impress and force their way into our match-day squad,” said head coach Townsend.

“The attritional nature of the Guinness Six Nations means there are often changes made to the squad throughout the championship and it is a challenge we are much better equipped to deal with given our current squad depth.”

“We wish those that have missed out through injury all the best in their rehabilitation, and we will continue to monitor their progress ahead of the final two games of the championship.”

Scotland Squad –

Forwards –

  • Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – 2 caps
  • Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – 2 caps
  • Simon Berghan – Glasgow Warriors – 31 caps
  • Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 16 caps
  • Andy Christie – Saracens – uncapped
  • Allan Dell – London Irish – 32 caps
  • Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
  • Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 19 caps
  • Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 44 caps
  • Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 50 caps
  • Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 10 caps
  • Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – 3 caps
  • Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 11 caps
  • Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
  • Kiran McDonald – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
  • WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
  • Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 6 caps
  • Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 17 caps
  • Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – 1 cap
  • George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps
  • Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps

Backs –

  • Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
  • Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 24 caps
  • Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 33 caps
  • Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – 90 caps – Captain
  • Rory Hutchinson – Northampton Saints – 5 caps
  • Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
  • Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 30 caps
  • James Lang – Edinburgh Rugby – 6 caps
  • Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – 2 caps
  • Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 48 caps
  • Kyle Rowe – London Irish – uncapped
  • Finn Russell – Racing 92 – 60 caps
  • Ollie Smith – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
  • Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
  • Sione Tuipulotu- Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
  • Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 15 caps
  • Ben Vellacott – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
  • Ben White – London Irish – 2 caps

Premiership: The Sunday Summary (for Saturday 19th February)

About David Barnes 2991 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.

23 Comments

  1. for those asking, Redpath has a neck injury. Given he had a bulging neck disc after last season’s Calcutta Cup, this is a bit if a worry.

    Also Matt Fagerson is struggling with the leg injury sustained against Wales

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  2. I’m afraid we are gonna get absolutely smashed, we won’t be able to compete with the mobile & dynamic French forwards at the breakdown, this hs been a common theme both against England & Wales, we could hardly get our hands on the ball?I’m afraid our three quarters will be living off scraps.
    This is not defeatist but a reality check after watching every minute of the France v Ireland match, both teams are playing at another level.

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    • I hope you’re wrong ! Sometimes the passion and desire can win through. I know that seemed to be lacking against Wales, but it was there vs England.

      Like others it seems to me Jonny G is not at his best, which always worries me with Townsend, why didn’t he see that and put Cummings in instead, which of course we can’t do now …

      I suspect three wins is our hopeful target now, no banana skins v Italy and either France or Ireland taken down …. come on lads !!!

  3. Unless we have a ruthless not a step back mentality from the kick off-to the final whistle, the huge french pack, will smash us.

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    • No-one beats us easily (apart from Ireland) and we are fairly formidable in Edinburgh. The French won’t play a game solely based on stopping us playing, this will give us chances. This is a huge game for Scotland, lose and its a likely 2 wins and 5th – difficult to see much improvement, win and we can look forward to Italy and Ireland….

  4. Like most here – starting to wonder what the rift is between Toonie and Hastings….. I simply don’t get it.

    Redpath the biggest loss, so starting 12 the biggest call, Gray and Sutherland have both been a bit off their best…time for others to take an opportunity.

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    • Worrying that Redpath injury is “unspecified”? Hopefully not as the guy has had a horrendous 12 months and deserves some luck surely.
      I’m continually impressed by Sykes and just wonder if he’d be better as the third lock on the bench instead of Hodgson? Seems to have that something about him-solidity grit aggressiveness- which is not quite the norm with Scottish locks.

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    • Like most supporters we all would like an explanation from Townsend for the ommision of Hastings!!.Once again kinghorn gifting opposition points Friday past.

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  5. At least we have options at 12. Not sure Redpath would’ve started this one as the Johnson/Harris midfield is perhaps the most robust for the French onslaught.

    Concerned though at the growing injury list in the tight 5, especially amongst the locks. Chance for someone to come in and establish themselves. Just hoping we dont pick up any more injuries in the next couple of games or the Irish will could embarrass us.

    Has anyone spoken to Ritchie Gray to see if he fancies a cameo. I’d have asked him back for this game as at least he has some insight to French lineout play.

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    • I would love to be wrong but unfortunately I think big Richie is just not so effective around the park these days, not sure he has much test level rugby ahead of him. A good pro player yes but for me not really a Scotland starter anymore

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      • I was sceptical about his return to the Warriors, I had visions of Nakarawa The Return part ll. Big Ritchie however has been really good, solid in contact, gets about the field and as ever wins a lot of lineout ball. Additionally his ballast also seems to have helped at scrum time. There are a lot of worse options out there from which GT will doubtless pick the meekest of.

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      • Richie was very anonymous last season and the start of this. More recently his line out has been top notch, nicked lots of opposition ball and I think playing better all round. But I think he is still the 3rd best lock at Glasgow – the best one is injured and replaced in the Scotland squad by the second best

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  6. Interesting no recall for Hastings despite Gloucester being 4th in the English league.
    I just don’t warm to Kinghorn.
    The only question in the backs is who will be centres the rest is I think set
    Hogg, VDM , Darcy ,Finn & Price. The forwards are going to be interesting, how to get as many big guys in there. Interesting to see Olli Smith in there along with McDonald and some guys I know little about like Christie. It’s going to be a tough day at the office for us, but we always seem to do better when we are underdog’s so come on guys bash them up.

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    • I dont think any of us understand the Hastings omission and think Townsend has had an absolute nightmare on this particular call. Hastings has the game smarts and the composure at test level, he has shown it home and away against the likes of France, Ireland, England. Ive yet to see Kinghorn show either and certainly not in a position he has never been tested in! An absolute head scratcher.

      The centres is only up for debate at 12. Harris owns the 13 jersey and the management team love him. In fairness to Harris he is very steady and is a defensive linchpin but we probably suffer in attack by having him there. He does not have the guile of a Huw Jones or Mark Bennett who can spot a channel and rip a defensive line open with a step, turn or burst of pace- Harris just doesnt have that in his armoury. Clearly Toony and co view the added defensive qualities in the midfield as being more crucial to the team’s success.

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  7. Redpath is a blow to Scotland, less so Gray and Sutherland, it makes the selection more interesting. We beat remember in Paris with Johnson/Harris at centre but I feel we are easier to nullify without another ball playing option at centre.
    Question- anyone know what Hastings has done to upset GT?

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  8. Really disappointing to lose Sutherland, Gray and Cummings.
    That dent in our forwards depth is not ideal against such a powerful French pack.
    The French have not liked Murrayfield in recent times and our record has been good against them, but sadly I feel this might be one win too far against them. Sadly our chances of being in the hunt on the final weekend of the championship almost certainly went terminal with our massive choke job in Cardiff last time round.

  9. Grey, Sutherland and Redpath will be sorely missed the battle with the French pack will be immense and losing Grey and Sutherland will make an already difficult task much harder. Lets hope the French revert to type and fail to travel well…

    • Townsend said Hastings was told go away and work on a few things when the original squad was announced. There was clearly something Townsend was unhappywith in the Autumn. Hastings got 15min of rugby across the 4 games. He was probably told to work on things last year and has since gone backwards with his club.

      He was never getting called up unless a 10 went down.

      Hastings was good a year ago. He fizzled out in his last 2-3 months at Glasgow, understandably so given Glasgow rightfully prioritised Thompson, but he has went from being a big name signing for Gloucester to the bench in half a season. Sure Evans might be playing well but Hastings really should be dominating that competion for the jersey and he isn’t.

      Given he’s been dropped by country and benched by club, it suggests the player may be the issue.

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      • I think Hastings has bags of talent so hope he bounces back from this. My mate says for him Hastings ‘falls just on the wrong side of confident’ and I do wonder if maybe that is how it is viewed among the player group or management team, we dont really know the full story. I do like he way he exudes confidence and it is something Scotland could do with at times, when it comes to the crunch as in Wales last weekend we lose our swagger and recoil into our shells.

      • Hi Addiemesiter, good points made but perhaps ‘underdog belligerence’ is a better description, ‘swagger’ sits too close to the approach of some of our nextdoor neighbours.

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