Scotland have today announced their 30 man squad for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup. Led by back-row forward Jason White, it contains 20 players who will be playing in international rugby’s ultimate showcase for the first time, including the only uncapped member, 20-year-old openside flanker John Barclay.
In contrast, two players will be competing for the William Webb Ellis trophy for the third time, lock Scott Murray and stand-off Chris Paterson.
Scotland coach Frank Hadden said today: “ I have selected a squad that has the ability to do something special at the World Cup and make our country proud. It is the most competitive squad we could muster.
“The decision to omit nine players from the squad was tough. I spoke with all but one of those players face to face yesterday and thanked them for their huge contribution to the preparation for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.”
Hadden and his fellow selectors, assistant coaches George Graham and Alan Tait, have opted for 17 forwards and 13 backs. “It’s not an uncommon split,” Hadden explained. “It reflects how tough it’s going to be, especially for the forwards playing so many games in such a close period of time, and also reflects on that wee bit more flexibility within the backs.”
Selection was tight in a number of areas and Hadden acknowledged the recent injuries to Scott Lawson and Chris Cusiter brought into sharp focus the need to choose three hookers and three scrum-halves in the party.
He added: “Overall this is a more mature group than we could have chosen two years ago. There’s a fair amount of experience there and a good balance between the power that was demonstrated in our win against Ireland last weekend and a bit of footballing ability.”
Barclay was a sixth year school pupil at Dollar Academy when the last World Cup was played in Australia four years ago.
“I was injured at the time and I remember watching a Scotland game at my friend’s house when I was meant to be watching the school team play,” he recalled.
A graduate of all Scotland’s age-grade sides and a recipient two summers ago of the John Macphail scholarship - which enabled him to sample club rugby in New Zealand - Barclay was outstanding for Glasgow Warriors last season and from Hadden’s perspective “has done everything that has been asked of him,” during Scotland’s preparations for the tournament.
John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)*
Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors)*
David Callam (Edinburgh)*
Ross Ford (Glasgow Warriors)*
Jim Hamilton (Leicester Tigers)
Nathan Hines (Perpignan)
Allister Hogg (Edinburgh)*
Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh)
Gavin Kerr (Glasgow Warriors)
Scott Lawson (Sale Sharks)*
Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets)
Euan Murray (Northampton Saints)*
Scott Murray (Montauban)
Craig Smith (Edinburgh)
Simon Taylor (Stade Francais)*
Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors)*
Jason White (Sale Sharks) CAPTAIN
Mike Blair (Edinburgh)*
Chris Cusiter (Perpignan)*
Rob Dewey (Ulster)
Marcus Di Rollo (Edinburgh)
Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors)
Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks)
Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints)
Rory Lawson (Gloucester)*
Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)
Chris Paterson (Gloucester)
Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh)
Nikki Walker (The Ospreys)
Simon Webster (Edinburgh)
* = Member of Scottish Institute of Sport
Scotland’s Rugby World Cup Pool C matches:
Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Thom Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Calum MacRae (Edinburgh), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Gordon Ross (Saracens) and Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester).