Seven uncapped Scots named in 2019 Guinness Six Nations squad
Head Coach Gregor Townsend today (Wednesday) named seven uncapped players in a 39-man Scotland squad for the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
Injuries to Fraser Brown and George Turner have opened the door for a trio of uncapped hookers, with David Cherry (Edinburgh) [picture right], Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) and Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) rewarded for breakthrough seasons at their club sides.
They are joined by back-row Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) and tighthead prop D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), with centres Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) and Chris Dean (Edinburgh) the only uncapped backs.
Of the group, former Scotland U20 caps Cherry, Kerr and Dean are the only players to have no previous involvement with the senior national side, with the others selected in extended or training squads in recent seasons.
Johnson missed out on the recent Autumn Tests through injury and Graham was an unused addition mid campaign, while Rae and Stewart have also come close to caps in previous camps as unused squad members on the 2017 and 2018 summer tours respectively.
Newcastle Falcons back-row John Hardie makes his return to a Scotland squad for the first time since the 2018 Six Nations, while the selection of squad regulars Jonny Gray and Tommy Seymour puts them – selection permitting – on track to reach a half century of Scotland caps during the championship, currently just three and four caps from the milestone.
The 2019 Guinness Six Nations...
Scotland finished last year’s championship in third place with three wins for the second time since five nations became six, with Head Coach Gregor Townsend keen to see continued improvements from his side.
He said: “There’s certainly been a lot of improvement from this group of players in recent seasons and I believe there’s much more to come. They’ve a genuine desire to get better and reach their potential in what is a huge year for our sport.
“In the past 18 months we’ve played 18 Test matches and have introduced 18 new players to Test-level rugby. Once again, our squad features players aiming to take that step, which is a testimony to their performances this season and the growing strength in depth of Scottish rugby.
“We are very proud of what a number of our players have achieved since the Autumn Tests, particularly with Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors both aiming to make the last eight of the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time and both sitting in strong positions in their respective Guinness PRO14 conferences.
“We’ve also seen some excellent performances from players representing clubs in France and England, which is a credit to their commitment and work ethic.
“It is a privilege for our players to be involved in the Guinness Six Nations, which is such a prestigious tournament and will be highly competitive once again.
“We look forward to taking on the challenge of Italy and working hard as a squad over the next two weeks to deliver a winning performance.”
Scotland will open the campaign against Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 2 February, in the first of three home Tests in this year’s competition, all of which are expected to be played before capacity crowds at the nation's largest stadium.
SCOTLAND SQUAD: 2019 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS
Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
David Cherry (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – uncapped
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
John Hardie (Newcastle Falcons) – 16 caps
Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 3 caps
Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 17 caps
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps
Chris Dean (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 6 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 65 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 66 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 37 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 40 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps
Unavailable through injury: John Barclay (Edinburgh), Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh), David Denton (Leicester Tigers), Cornell Du Preez (Worcester Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Luke Hamilton (Edinburgh), Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons).