36 players have been named in the Scotland Club International Squad for this season’s two games against French & Irish opposition. There are representatives from all ten RBS Premier 1 clubs, plus two players who play in the RBS National League. Six of the players are on Elite Development Contracts with the Pro teams and twelve of the team bring previous experience at this level, including Fraser Thomson and Scott Sutherland who have both appeared in six fixtures.
Premier 1 leaders, Ayr, who host the Irish match on Friday 8th March, have the biggest representation with seven players named in the squad. Ross Curle might consider himself fortunate to be included this year considering his disciplinary record, and the very consistent Grant Anderson may wonder what he needs to do to be selected, but the Millbrae faithful will be delighted to see big Nick Cox rewarded for his rumbling form this year having returned from a career threatening injury. Cox, is English by birth, so presumably qualifies for this team on residency grounds. Gala’s talisman, Opata Palepoi, might have been included on the same grounds, as he has been instrumental in their rise up the league. Gala do have six players in the squad including both of Coach George Graham’s sons, George & Gary, his young propping prodigies McQuillan and Pettie, and the excellent game maker Lee Millar. Among the Gala team, Euan Dods will count himself unlucky not to be selected.
There are some regular Club Internationalists missing this year – notably Ross Weston, Richard Sneddon, Allan Brown and Scottish Rugby Blog’s own Alan Dymock, now studying in London. Indeed this is the first Club XV squad without a Dymock in it for 5 years! The end of an era or just an oversight of Dundee’s famous family?
There will however be delight around the country in the selection of loyal club men like Gary Holborn, Grieg Campbell, Dan Teague and Mark Cairns – just reward for consistent careers.
Of those not selected, Stevie Longwell & Iain Wilson are newcomers who have made a big impression at Dundee HSFP this year, Joe Helps has progressed steadily at Melrose, and Graham Wilson at Heriots continues to display class week after week. None of them would have been out of place in the squad.
J Forbes (Currie), R Steele (Watsons), F Thomson (Melrose/EDP), C Gossman (Ayr), C Anderson (Melrose), C Robertson (Gala), M Learmonth (Heriots), D Gilmour (Stirling Co), D Kelbrick, R Curle (both Ayr), S Edwards (Stirling Co), R Hutton (Ayr), L Millar, George Graham (both Gala), M McConnell (Ayr/EDP)
A Allen (Edin A/EDP), R Hislop (Bor/EDP), L Pettie, E McQuillan (both Gala), G Holborn (Melrose), N Cox, G Hunter (both Ayr), F Brown, K Bryce (both Heriots), S Sutherland (Ayr), R Miller (Melrose), A Redmayne (DHSFP), G Campbell, D Teague (both Ed A), Gary Graham (Gala), J Hill (Heriots), J Swanson (Bor), A Nagle, G Runciman (Melrose), M Cairns (Currie), H Watson (Ed A/EDP)