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.
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.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 24)
Full squad by position –
In: Allan Dell, WP Nel, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson and Simon Berghan
Out: Jamie Bhatti
In: Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown and George Turner
Out: Grant Stewart
In: Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings
In: Hamish Watson, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Ryan Wilson and Blade Thomson.
Out: Magnus Bradbury, Matt Fagerson and Josh Strauss
In: Greig Laidlaw, Ali Price and George Horne
In: Finn Russell and Adam Hastings
In: Sam Johnson, Duncan Taylor, Pete Horne and Chris Harris.
Out: Rory Hutchinson and Huw Jones
In: Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn, Tommy Seymour, Sean Maitland and Darcy Graham.
Out: Byron McGuigan