Webster Returns In Churchill Cup

Simon Webster, who missed most of the 2007 RBS 6 Nations Championship, will be given his chance to make a case for selection for this year's World Cup. Webster, the 26-year-old Edinburgh Rugby wing, is named today in head coach Frank Hadden's provisional Scotland A squad of 37 players for the Barclays Churchill Cup, which will be staged in England in May/June.

Simon Webster, who missed most of the 2007 RBS 6 Nations Championship, will be given his chance to make a case for selection for this year's World Cup.

Webster, the 26-year-old Edinburgh Rugby wing, is named today in head coach Frank Hadden's provisional Scotland A squad of 37 players for the Barclays Churchill Cup, which will be staged in England in May/June.

Scotland captain Jason White, who has just returned from a specialist rehabilitation clinic in the United States, continues to make a good recovery from his knee injury but Hadden has decided he will not play at this juncture.

Hadden will be joined by the rest of the senior Scotland management team for a tournament which he describes as "a vital part of our World Cup preparation."

Webster did recover from an ankle/lower leg injury he sustained during his try-scoring appearance against Australia last November to make a brief return as a substitute during the Six Nations win against Wales.

However a similar injury in a Magners League match against Leinster in Dublin in February has sidelined Webster.

Three other players who appeared for Scotland during the Six Nations are included in the squad, which will be trimmed to the 28 permitted under tournament rules in mid-May. They are wing/full-back Rory Lamont; stand-off Phil Godman; and No 8 Johnnie Beattie, who returned from an ankle injury last Autumn to play in the final match of the RBS 6 Nations Championship, against France in Paris.

Other internationalists who missed the Championship through injury, and for whom the Churchill Cup represents a chance of advancing their cause for a World Cup berth, are prop Craig Smith, vastly experienced lock Stuart Grimes, hooker Scott Lawson and centres Graeme Morrison and Ben MacDougall.

Frank Hadden said: "Most of the players who featured throughout the Six Nations Championship will be involved in extensive fitness and conditioning work over the summer but for the players involved in the Barclays Churchill Cup, there are two challenges.

"One to win international rugby matches for their country in a very tough environment and secondly to demonstrate their readiness for consideration of a place in the World Cup squad.

"It will be good to see the likes of Scott Lawson, Craig Smith, Ben MacDougall and Simon Webster back on the field.

"Although two of our other injured internationalists, Jason White and Mike Blair are making good progress from knee and shoulder injuries respectively, the tournament comes just too early for them at this stage of their rehabilitation."

The provisional squad includes two scrum-halves who would be new to A level - former Scotland under-21captain Mark McMillan and former Scotland under-19 cap Lee Dickson. Dickson represented England at under-21 level but has decided to return to stake a claim for Scotland.

Scotland A made their debut in the Barclays Churchill Cup when it was staged in Canada last season. Then, under the direction of head coach Steve Bates, they reached the final after victories over England Saxons and Canada. In the final they were defeated by New Zealand Maori.

There are 16 survivors from last season's Scotland A Barclays Churchill Cup campaign listed in this provisional squad. This season Scotland A will face the USA at Henley RFC on Wednesday 23 May (kick-off 6pm) and England Saxons at Twickenham on Monday 28 May (kick-off 3pm) in their pool games. Finals day of the Barclays Churchill Cup is Saturday 2 June at Twickenham.


Provisional Scotland A squad for Barclays Churchill Cup

Backs

Ben Cairns (Edinburgh Rugby)*, Simon Danielli (Border Reivers), Nick De Luca (Border Reivers), Lee Dickson (Newcastle Falcons), Thom Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Phil Godman (Edinburgh Rugby), Colin Gregor (Glasgow Warriors), Robbie Kydd (Northampton Saints), Rory Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Ben MacDougall (Border Reivers), Calum MacRae (Border Reivers)*, Mark McMillan (London Wasps)*, Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Gordon Ross (Castres) and Simon Webster (Edinburgh Rugby)

Forwards

John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)*, Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors)*, Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby)*,Bruce Douglas (Border Reivers), Iain Fullarton (Saracens), Ryan Grant (Border Reivers), Scott Gray (Border Reivers), Stuart Grimes (Border Reivers), Andrew Hall (Newport Gwent Dragons), Craig Hamilton (Border Reivers), Ed Kalman (Border Reivers), Andrew Kelly (Edinburgh Rugby)*, Scott Lawson (Glasgow Warriors)*, Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Donnie Macfadyen (Glasgow Warriors), Andy Miller (Border Reivers), Mark Rennie (Bourgoin), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), Craig Smith (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Strokosch (Edinburgh Rugby)*, Steve Swindall (Glasgow Warriors) and Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors)*

* = Member of Scottish Institute of Sport