Five uncapped players have been named today in Scotland’s 28-strong playing squad for their summer tour to Australasia. They are the Glasgow Warriors forwards Ryan Grant, Robert Harley and Tom Ryder and the Edinburgh Rugby backs Tom Brown and Tim Visser.
The first four-named were among the Scotland A squad who put England Saxons to the sword 35-0 at Netherdale in February, while Visser, the 24-year-old Dutch born winger, will qualify for Scotland through the three-year residency rule on 12 June and will thus be available for selection for the Tests against Fiji and Samoa.
Also listed are three players who have won a solitary Scotland cap to date, having made their debuts during the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship – the 21-year-old backs, Duncan Weir and Matt Scott, and Glasgow Warriors’ prop Jon Welsh.
For the Tests against Australia, Fiji and Samoa next month, the Scotland party also includes experienced British and Irish Lions Ross Ford (the tour captain), Mike Blair, Chris Cusiter and Euan Murray.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “This is a tough tour for Scotland. We’ll be playing against three attack-minded teams on their own turf. But it’s an important opportunity to start the rebuilding process after a disappointing Six Nations.
“One quarter of the squad has yet to start an international but we’ve seen from the manner in which Edinburgh and Glasgow have finished the domestic season that there’s confidence that we will be looking to build on. “
Visser, who has scored a remarkable 43 tries in 74 appearances for Edinburgh since he joined from Newcastle Falcons three years ago, and has been top try scorer in the RaboDirect PRO12 for the past three seasons, is delighted by his call-up.
In an exclusive video interview with www.scottishrugby.org he said: “I’m very honoured, having lived here for such a long time now I’ve got to know the country and the people very well and I feel very much part of the country. I feel really at home here and the people have been great. I would love to represent Scotland.”
His Edinburgh Rugby team-mate 22-year-old Tom Brown, a product of North Berwick RFC and the Edinburgh Academy, who has also played club rugby for Currie, admitted: “It was a pretty tense day yesterday wondering if the call might come and when it did it was pretty overwhelming but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Brown, who has been mentored by Scotland’s cap and points’ record-holder, Chris Paterson, both through the Winning Scotland Foundation and at club level, said his experience with Edinburgh this season would stand him in good stead.
“It’s been pretty massive. Looking at where I was last year, I’ve come so far this year and being a part of the Edinburgh set-up has been a huge part of that development. My confidence has gone through the roof since last year and being involved in the (Heineken Cup) quarter and the semi-final, that was a huge step-up and I’m relishing the opportunity to go up another level.”
Like Brown, back five forward Robert Harley, was a member of the Scotland under-20 squad at the Junior World Championship in Japan three years ago. Harley, whose fitness and doggedness were obvious in last year’s pre-Rugby World Cup camp, is determined to make the breakthrough on this tour.
He said: “I’m delighted and very excited to be involved with Scotland again. There will be a strong group of players who I will have to contest with for a place but I just hope I can impress and show everyone what I can do.
“I think my season with Glasgow will stand me in good stead. I believe I have been consistent throughout the year and I have improved a lot as a player. Also having the responsibility of captaining the team has helped me develop leadership qualities.”
Joe Ansbro (London Irish), Mike Blair, Tom Brown (both Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Max Evans (Castres), Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) and Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross, Ross Ford Captain (both Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant, Richie Gray, Dougie Hall, Robert Harley, Alastair Kellock (all Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) and Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors).
Kelly Brown (Saracens), David Denton and Lee Jones (both Edinburgh Rugby)
Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby)
Head coach: Andy Robinson
Assistant coach: Scott Johnson
Specialist coaches: Massimo Cuttitta and Duncan Hodge
Fitness, strength and conditioning: Neill Potts and Huw Jones
Team manager: Gavin Scott
Team operations co-ordinator: Kirsty Mackay
Medical: Dr James Robson, Dr Jonathan Hanson, Paul McGinley and Stephen Mutch
Analyst: Ciaran Beattie
Media: Graham Law
Baggage master: John Pennycuick
Squad departs: Thursday 24 May