Head coach Andy Robinson has selected six uncapped players in Scotland’s 36-man squad for the opening two matches of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
They are Lee Jones, the 23-year-old Edinburgh Rugby wing; Stuart Hogg, the 19-year-old Glasgow Warriors full-back; his team-mates, stand-off Duncan Weir, 20 and flanker/lock Robert Harley, 21; Sale Sharks’ former Edinburgh and Dunfermline flanker/lock, 23-year-old Fraser McKenzie; and 20-year-old London Irish centre Steven Shingler.
All 28 available players from last year’s Rugby World Cup squad are included – Chris Paterson and Nathan Hines have now retired – while potential Six Nations debuts could lie ahead for the Edinburgh duo, Greig Laidlaw and David Denton, both of whom have been capped in the EMC Test windows.
Jones, a product of Selkirk has graduated from both Scotland 7s and Scotland A team and has scored six tries in 28 appearances for Edinburgh since making his debut in a pre-season friendly against London Irish in 2010.
Hogg – whose father John was a championship winning full-back and top-notch referee from Hawick, and brother Graham played both age-grade and 7s for Scotland – has won promotion from the Scotland under-20 squad. He made his Glasgow debut last February against the Dragons and has now played 17 times for the Warriors, scoring two tries. Last week Hogg signed a contract that will keep with Glasgow Warriors until at least May 2015.
Weir is currently the top-scorer in the RaboDirect PRO 12 league (145 points) and has represented Scotland at A, 7s and age-grade levels, while both Harley and McKenzie have been part of Scotland squads in the recent past and made a considerable impact in the Scotland A team.
Shingler, born in Swansea and who joined London Irish from Scarlets at the start of this season, qualifies for Scotland through his Dumfries born mum, Jeanette.
Robinson said: “I am pleased to reflect on the winning displays we have seen from both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors over the last two months and the contribution a number of our uncapped players have made to them.
“I think what’s also encouraging is that a number of players who have forced their way into contention in that period and who have not made the squad this time, are really knocking on the door and that competition for places can only raise our standards, so this Scotland squad can be very much a work in progress over the coming months.
“We said after the Rugby World Cup that the challenge the Scotland squad must confront is to get on with the business of winning international rugby matches. Potential counts for nothing if you don’t deliver results.”
The squad will gather at St Andrews on the week beginning Monday 23 January before it is trimmed for match specific preparations for Scotland’s opening game of the championship against England at Murrayfield on Saturday 4 February.
Tickets for that match are sold-out, however you can still buy tickets for the Scotland v France game at Murrayfield on Sunday 26 February, kick-off 3pm via the website www.scottishrugby.org.
Scotland squad for the matches against England (4 February) and Wales (12 February) in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship:
Backs: Joe Ansbro (London Irish), Mike Blair (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Max Evans (Castres), Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson (both Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw (both Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Steven Shingler (London Irish) and Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton (both Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray, Dougie Hall (both Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Fraser McKenzie (Sale Sharks), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester) and Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks).