There are seven uncapped players in the Scotland training squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations, which was named by Gregor Townsend yesterday [Wednesday] morning, including three who are involved with the senior national set-up for the first time.
Here is lowdown on that trio –
Name: Jake Kerr
Home town: Edinburgh
Club: Leicester Tigers
Top flight professional appearances: 17
Previous clubs: Boroughmuir, Watsonians, Edinburgh, Loughborough University
Other international honours: Scotland Under-18 and Scotland Under-20
Townsend said: “Playing is obviously the most important aspect and if it’s playing at a club in Scotland then that, for me personally, is an advantage – because as you get closer to internationals you can be managed, there’s cohesion with what you’re doing with the front-row and second-row guys you’re working with.
“But it’s a real credit to Jake that he’s gone down to a club with a real tradition of quality in the front-five and found a way to get into the team, and the Leicester coaches have been really impressed with what he’s done.
“Danny Wilson was down at Llanelli last week, watching him first hand and met him after the game. I’d spoken to Jake the week before as well. He’s delighted … surprised that he’s involved, but he’s earned it with how he’s played for Leicester this year.”
Name: David Cherry
Home town: Edinburgh
Top flight professional appearances: 11
Previous clubs: Edinburgh Academicals, Currie, London Scottish, Stade Niçois
Other international honours: Scotland Under-20
Townsend said: “He’s a really good example of someone who had been playing Championship level and got an opportunity through Scottish Rugby’s relationship with Stade Niçois. We had a lot of positive feedback from the coaches out there last year and he’s really grabbed his opportunity with Edinburgh.
“It was a real shame that he got ill before the Kings game, because I think he would have gone really well that night, but every time he’s come off the bench he’s taken the game to the opposition.
“That’s a common trait between the three [uncapped] hookers, they don’t seem to be fazed with the opposition they’re playing against and playing professional rugby: whether that’s Grant Stewart going to play Leinster in the Champions Cup in one of his first games last year and really taking the game to Leinster; whether it’s David Cherry coming off the bench for Edinburgh; or Jake Kerr playing in the Premiership week-in, week-out. So that’s a good sign for us that they’re ready to go to the next level and take their opportunity.”
Name: Chris Dean
Home town: North Berwick
Top flight professional appearances: 64
Previous clubs: Edinburgh Accies
Other international honours: Scotland Under-16, Scotland Under-17, Scotland Under-18, Scotland Under-20, Scotland 7s
Townsend said: “He really impressed us last year when he made the move from 13 to 12 because it suited his strengths. Getting more touches of the ball, getting over the gain-line carries. He’s improved his defence a lot in the past 12 months and that might be down to that change of position, plus the work he is doing with the Edinburgh coaches.
“He’s also shown that he can be an excellent passer. At the weekend against Toulon I thought he made some very good passes off his left hand. He’s played in these big games for Edinburgh over the past six weeks and performed really well, including up against direct rivals in the 1872 Cup games.
“We look forward to seeing how gets along with a lot of players who are coming from Glasgow in that backline. We see him being able to take that next step up to Test rugby.”