Scotland squad named for Rugby World Cup 2019
Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named the 31-man Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019 at a public event at Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
Hundreds of supporters turned out to see Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally announced as captain of a group that features a split of 17 forwards and 14 backs, each of whom was announced one-by-one as part of a live squad reveal.
Townsend said: “Stuart has done a really good job in the opportunities he’s had to captain Scotland.
“He captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games. He’s a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others." Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend
"We have a number of leaders in our squad and it was great to see them work well together out in Georgia last week.”
Over a third (13) of the group have previous Rugby World Cup experience, with Edinburgh back-row John Barclay the only player preparing for a third campaign (having featured in 2007 and 2011).
The remainder are Glasgow Warriors quintet Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Pete Horne, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson, Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist and Willem Nel, plus Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), Finn Russell (Racing 92) and Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls), who all featured in 2015.
Barclay is also the most-capped member of the squad with 74 of the group’s total of 902 appearances combined, with Scarlets back-row Blade Thomson operating at the other end of the spectrum, with one Test cap.
Glasgow Warriors contribute the most players (12) to the squad, with Edinburgh close behind with 10, eight coming from exile clubs and Reid representing the Super6 side, whose tournament begins in November this year.
Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham is the youngest member of the squad having turned 22 in June, although there are three other 22-year-olds in the squad – Glasgow Warriors Scott Cummings and Adam Hastings, and Edinburgh back Blair Kinghorn – while Laidlaw is the oldest at 33 years and 326 days (with Nel also 33). The squad has an average age of 27.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re delighted with the squad and believe we’ve picked a group capable of playing our best rugby and doing this consistently throughout the tournament.
“The players have worked hard to be in the best physical shape of their careers and we know that when they play to their potential they are capable of beating any team in the world.
“The players have worked hard to be in the best physical shape of their careers and we know that when they play to their potential they are capable of beating any team in the world." Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend
“There were a number of tough calls given the quality of our wider training squad, and on the close decisions we’ve looked to select players that have strong defensive attributes and are willing to out-work their opposite number.”
He continued: “Some very good players have missed out on selection this time, but they know they’ll have to keep working hard because, in a world cup, an opportunity can come around very quickly.”
Completing the squad’s forward stable are front-rows Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Allan Dell (London Irish), Zander Fagerson and George Turner (both Glasgow Warriors), and Edinburgh trio Ben Toolis (lock), Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson (back-row).
Joining Pete Horne as the squad’s centre options are his Glasgow Warriors clubmate Sam Johnson and exiles Chris Harris (Gloucester) and Duncan Taylor (Saracens), with Glasgow Warriors scrum-halves George Horne and Ali Price completing the back division.
31-man Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019
John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 74 caps**
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Allan Dell (London Irish) – 24 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 36 caps*
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 31 caps*
Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) – 36 caps*
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 1 cap
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps*
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 9 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 69 caps*
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 73 caps*
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 42 caps*
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 46 caps*
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 22 caps
* Denotes Rugby World Cup experience