Scotland name 36-man training squad ahead of Autumn Nations Series
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has today named a 36-man squad for a two day training camp ahead of the first game of the 2021 Autumn Nations Series.
The group brings together predominantly home-based players, 19 of whom featured in the 2021 Scotland summer squad which was unable to play its three intended matches due to Covid-19.
Glasgow Warriors back-row player Rory Darge continues in the squad from the summer after man of the match performances in the opening rounds of the United Rugby Championship campaign. He is joined by fellow Warriors in backs Ross Thompson, Cole Forbes, Rufus McLean, Kyle Steyn, George Horne, Jamie Dobie, Sione Tuipulotu and forwards Jamie Bhatti, Oli Kebble, Matt Fagerson and George Turner.
Edinburgh Rugby also have players retained from the summer in the form of back row pair Jamie Ritchie and Luke Crosbie, alongside lock Jamie Hodgson and backs Blair Kinghorn, Jack Blain, Damien Hoyland and James Lang.
The remaining group of 17 players are called up having returned from either the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, injury or rest, having not featured in Scotland’s disrupted summer campaign.
Lions Ali Price, Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson all bring their experience to the group.
In the pack Grant Gilchrist, Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown, Nick Haining and Rob Harley are called up bringing with them a combined tally of 169 caps.
Also returning are backs Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett and Sam Johnson all of whom have made bright starts to the new season.
Townsend has also brought in four new faces with an uncapped quartet of three forwards and a back.
Edinburgh Rugby forwards Pierre Schoeman and Marshall Sykes are joined by midfield back Charlie Savala in the training group.
There is also a call-up for Cell C Sharks loose-forward Dylan Richardson who qualifies for Scotland through his father, who was born in Edinburgh. The 22 year-old flanker has started two URC matches this season having lined up against Munster in the opening round and Glasgow Warriors in round two and was part of the matchday 23 for the South African team’s third-round win against Ospreys.
The training squad will convene on Sunday 17 October and train on Monday 18 October at Oriam High Performance centre outside Edinburgh.
Speaking on the selection Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “It has been great to see both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors make positive starts to their URC campaigns driven by some standout performances from both young and established players.
“With four tough Test matches ahead of us in this year’s Autumn Nations Series it is important we bring players together early, connect with them as coaches and enable them to grow as a group before the campaign gets underway against Tonga at BT Murrayfield. We’ll then move on to the challenge of facing in-form Australia, World Champions South Africa and a very dangerous Japan team.
“We are pleased with the depth we are able to call upon to make up this training squad and it provides a genuine opportunity for players to put their hand up for selection to the full Autumn Nations Series squad.”
Autumn Nations Training Squad
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps
Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks – uncapped
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby - uncapped
Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
Murray McCallum – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
Fraser Brown – Glasgow Warriors – 54 caps
Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Damien Hoyland – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
Cole Forbes – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Matt Currie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
James Lang – Edinburgh Rugby – 6 caps
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
Jack Blain – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Charlie Savala – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps
Jamie Dobie - Glasgow Warriors - uncapped
Scotland’s match against South Africa is already sold out with the Australia fixture expected to follow very shortly.
A full house at BT Murrayfield is also expected for Japan.
Tonga will be the exciting opponents on Saturday 30 October when Scotland take the field for the first test match at BT Murrayfield with a live crowd since March 2020.
Plans are underway to host a massive Halloween party with fans encouraged to wear fancy dress and with ‘kids for £1’ tickets available it gives a great opportunity for families to see their national team in action.