UPDATED: Scotland name squad for their summer tour
Toulouse lock Richie Gray has been ruled out of Scotland’s summer tour of the Americas with a hip injury. Here are some of the key talking points on head coach Gregor Townsend’s selections for the matches against Argentina, Canada and the USA.
Six new names
There could be some debut caps for Edinburgh’s Lewis Carmichael and Jamie Ritchie, Glasgow’s Matt Fagerson, Adam Hastings and George Horne, and also Harlequins’ James Lang.
Lang is this summer’s left-field selection. The 23-year-old stand-off with Quins – who was once of RGC 1404 – has previously represented Scotland at U18 level.
There are some big omissions from the squad of 33. Jonny Gray, Huw Jones, Ryan Wilson and Finn Russell of Glasgow will get the summer off, with the latter preparing for his move to Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 in the off-season.
Sean Maitland of Saracens and Tommy Seymour of Glasgow will be absent from the back three as they too get the summer to rest up. Edinburgh prop WP Nel has fallen foul of injury again.
But also resting will be recent skippers John Barclay and Greig Laidlaw. Which necessitates a change in on-field leadership.
A different captain
Hooker Stuart McInally has seen his fine form for Edinburgh and Scotland rewarded, as Townsend makes him the captain. Fraser Brown and George Turner are the other hookers on tour.
It will be worth keeping an eye on how Townsend changes Scotland’s back row and back three during these Tests.
With Fagerson and Ritchie potential debutants, and with David Denton and Luke Hamilton brought back in, and Magnus Bradbury keen to add to his two caps, there could be some experimentation there.
Meanwhile, at the back, things look likely to change. As mentioned, Seymour and Maitland are out, while Tim Visser recently retired from Test rugby.
So With Lee Jones, Chris Harris, Blair Kinghorn, Stuart Hogg, Byron McGuigan and even sometime-full-back Ruaridh Jackson all vying for back-three spaces, it is clear the coaches are keen to try different combos.
What the coach said
“There are twin goals for this tour,” gaffer Townsend has said. “The first is to build on the work we’ve done so far this season and finish with improved performances. We also have the Rugby World Cup in our thoughts, as this will be our last tour before we leave for Japan next year.
“Touring and staying together for four weeks and experiencing different environments will be very informative – seeing how players get on with each other, how much they improve and how they rise to each challenge we face on tour.”
Scotland’s touring squad
Alex Dunbar, Nick Grigg (both Glasgow), Chris Harris (Newcastle), Adam Hastings (Glasgow), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones (all Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), James Lang (Harlequins), Byron McGuigan (Sale), Ali Price (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens).
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow), Lewis Carmichael, Allan Dell (both Edinburgh), David Denton (Worcester), Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson (both Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Luke Hamilton (Leicester), Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie (all Edinburgh), Tim Swinson (Glasgow), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow).