Scotland Club XV and Heriot’s Head Coach, Phil Smith, has named an initial 30-man training squad to represent the best of BT Premiership talent for season 2016/17.
The squad will travel to Birmingham Moseley for a fixture against England Counties on Friday 24 February.
The match will be a repeat of last year’s encounter in which Scotland Club XV defeated their English counterparts 57-27 at Netherdale.
Last year’s Scottish Club XV also claimed an away victory over Ireland Club XV to record history as the first team to win back-to-back matches in a season.
The selected cohort of players will come together from BT Premiership clubs across the country with some new names combining with familiar faces to merge a blend of youth with experience.
In the backs, key performers from last season’s squad feature with Melrose full-back Fraser Thomson, Boroughmuir and BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy wing Jordan Edmunds and last season’s Scotland Club XV captain and Ayr centre, Ross Curle, all selected.
Gala’s Gregor Hunter and Boroughmuir’s Chris Laidlaw are among the options for the stand-off position while the Gossman brothers, Kerr from Glasgow Hawks and Craig from Ayr are in the mix on the wings.
The rest of the back-line combinations sees Currie’s Robbie Nelson and Harvey Elms join Ayr’s Archie Russell and David Armstrong with Melrose’s Murdo McAndrew and George Taylor also selected.
Ayr captain Pete McCallum will provide leadership in the forwards alongside club mates Will Bordill and Robert McAlpine, who all played a part in last season’s international campaign.
Michael Liness, Russell Nimmo and Struan Cessford are among the experienced pack from Heriot’s, while BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy front-row Jamie Bhatti and utility forward, Neil Irvine-Hess, represent Melrose and are retained from last year.
Tommy Spinks from Glasgow Hawks and Fergus Scott from Currie are the only representatives from their respective clubs in the forwards as BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy front-row Murray McCallum combines with Callum Marshall from Heriot’s.
Russell Anderson, Grant Runciman and Iain Moody from Melrose provide further options in the pack while Blair Macpherson and Steven Longwell feature from Ayr.
Scotland Club XV Head Coach, Phil Smith, said: “Throughout the spine of the squad, we have players in key positions who have experience of playing in the Club XV and who played a significant part in the historic victories over England Counties and Ireland Club XV last season.
I have selected players who have been in genuine form in the BT Premiership and who are best representing the Scottish club game with some new faces adding to the depth and talent of the squad.
“The fixture against England Counties will be a good test away from home and is a great opportunity for the players to show that the club game in Scotland is consistently played out at a high level.”
Fergus Scott (Currie), Russell Anderson (Melrose), Michael Liness (Heriot’s), Jamie Bhatti** (Melrose), Struan Cessford (Heriot’s), Steven Longwell (Ayr), Murray McCallum** (Heriot’s), Russell Nimmo (Heriot’s), Robert McAlpine (Ayr), Callum Marshall (Heriot’s), Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose), Blair Macpherson (Ayr), Grant Runciman (Melrose), Will Bordill (Ayr), Tommy Spinks (Glasgow Hawks), Iain Moody (Melrose), Pete McCallum (Ayr).
Murdo McAndrew (Melrose), David Armstrong (Ayr), Chris Laidlaw (Boroughmuir), Gregor Hunter (Gala), Robbie Nelson (Currie), George Taylor (Melrose), Ross Curle (Ayr), Archie Russell (Ayr), Harvey Elms (Currie), Fraser Thomson (Melrose), Kerr Gossman (Glasgow Hawks), Jordan Edmunds* (Boroughmuir), Craig Gossman (Ayr).
* BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 1 player 2016/17
** BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 player 2016/17