World Cup squad announcement: Pete Horne and Ryan Wilson in, Rory Hutchinson misses out

Gregor Townsend names Stuart McInally as captain of 31-man expedition force which will head off to Japan next week

Russell, Horne and Harris
Finn Russell, Peter Horne and Chris Harris lined up together against France at Murrayfield. Could this be the the midfield that faces Ireland in Scotland's World Cup opener in just under three weeks' time? Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

STUART McINALLY will captain the Scotland squad during their World Cup campaign in Japan, which kicks-off against Ireland in just under three weeks’ time.

Rory Hutchinson is perhaps the most notable omission. The former Scotland Under-20s star, who plays his club rugby with Northampton Saints, only linked up with the national set-up at the start of this summer, but has impressed in training and in his first two appearances in the dark blue jersey off the bench against France. He was then named in the starting XV against Georgia last weekend and marked the occasion with an accomplished all-round performance topped off with two excellently taken tries.

The absence of Huw Jones in the named squad is surprising when viewed from the perspective of his standing a year ago, but he has struggled recently to find the sort form for either club or country which previously saw him gather 10 tries in his first 14 Scotland appearances. The four centres named are Pete Horne, Sam Johnson, Chris Harris and Duncan Taylor.

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In the back-row, Matt Fagerson is a real hard luck story. The Glasgow Warriors man put in a mighty shift at no 8 against Georgia last weekend, but it seems this tournament came around a few seasons too early for the 21-year-old, and he misses out to the more experienced Ryan Wilson.

Magnus Bradbury was also widely tipped to go as a back-row option given the physical dimension he offers, but his lack of game time this summer due to a rib injury has contributed to his exclusion. Josh Strauss was always a long-shot to make the 31.

As widely anticipated, Townsend has gone with five props with Simon Berghan, who is essentially a tight-head, likely to cover the loose-head if required. The three hookers are McInally, Fraser Brown (who is no back to full fitness after sitting out most of the summer with a toe injury) and George Turner, with Grant Stewart the odd man out.

All four second-rows still in the squad after the loss of Sam Skinner make the cut, and all three scrum-halves also go.

Adam Hastings provides stand-off cover to Finn Russell; and a potent looking quintet of Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn, Sean Maitland, Darcy Graham and Tommy Seymour will battle it ouT for the full-back and wing positions.

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Full squad by position –

Props –

In: Allan Dell, WP Nel, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson and Simon Berghan

Out: Jamie Bhatti

Hooker –

In: Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown and George Turner

Out: Grant Stewart

Second-row –

In: Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings

Out: None

Back-row –

In: Hamish Watson, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Ryan Wilson and Blade Thomson.

Out: Magnus Bradbury, Matt Fagerson and Josh Strauss

Scrum-halves –

In: Greig Laidlaw, Ali Price and George Horne

Out: None.

Stay-off –

In: Finn Russell and Adam Hastings

Out: None

Centres –

In: Sam Johnson, Duncan Taylor, Pete Horne and Chris Harris.

Out: Rory Hutchinson and Huw Jones

Wing/Full-back –

In: Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn, Tommy Seymour, Sean Maitland and Darcy Graham.

Out: Byron McGuigan

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About David Barnes 3891 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.


  1. i cannot understand the inclusion of P Horne. Like him as a glasgow player, but just doesn’t seem to hold up in tough tests. would have had hutchinson every day of the week

    • Jono, obviously spending too much time on internet chat rooms and not actually watching games of rugby. Horne seems to be massively underrated by the armchair fans, which puzzles me. He has been regularly selected for some of our biggest games recently and provided some huge performances too.

      By my estimations the following is a list of our best performances/ results since the QF Loss to Australia at the last RWC (a game which Horne scored and performed well in):

      England 6N 2019 (not selected)
      Argentina Autumn 2018 (not selected)
      SA Autumn 2018 (Loss)
      Fiji Autumn 2018
      Argentina summer away 2018
      Italy Away 6N 2018
      England 6N 2018
      France 6N 2018
      Australia Autumn 2017
      NZ Autumn 2017 (Loss)
      Australia Summer 2017 (not selected)
      Wales 6N 2017 (not selected)
      Ireland 6N 2017 (not selected)
      Australia Autumn 2016 (Loss)
      Argentina Autumn 2016
      Italy away 6N 2016
      France 6N 2016

      I just don’t see why he seems to generate such abuse on social media and chat rooms from Scotland fans.

    • Well said FJN. It seems to be Horny’s time to be that player that the armchair warriors turn on. It doesn’t matter what games you cite as facts, it won’t get through the blinkers. Our backline generally works well when he’s at 12 and I hope he has a stormer of an RWC. Like you say, he was decent in the last one.

  2. In what Rugby universe are Ryan Wilson and Peter Horne are included in a World Cup squad but Bradbury, Jones and Hutchinson aren’t. I presume Bradbury’s injury hasn’t fully cleared. As for the inclusion of P Horne. Quite incredible.

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