Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


6 Uncapped Scots Named In Two-headed Monster Squad

Finn Russell - pic courtesy IRB / Image SA

Six uncapped players were named today in a 43-man double squad for Scotland’s packed June Test match tour schedule.
Glasgow Warriors’ forwards Gordon Reid, Alex Allan and Kevin Bryce and their talented midfield colleague Finn Russell are joined by London Irish openside Blair Cowan and Edinburgh Rugby scrum-half Grayson Hart for the tour which will mark new head coach Vern Cotter’s introduction to the role.

Scotland’s matches are v USA in Houston on Saturday 7 June; Canada in Toronto on Saturday 14 June; Argentina in Cordoba on Friday 20 June; and South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday 28 June. The 43 consists of 19 from Glasgow Warriors, 17 Exiles and seven from Edinburgh Rugby.

“Working with Scott Johnson and the national coaches, we’ve selected, effectively, two squads for our itinerary this summer taking into account Glasgow Warriors’ pursuit of PRO 12 silverware and the fact that our match against South Africa falls out-with the IRB Regulation 9 window”, said Cotter.

“We’ve included a mix of the battle-hardened and promising new talent and it will be good to see how players step up to tough and different challenges at the end of a long domestic campaign.”

Cotter will consider captaincy when the preparations begin for the North American leg of the tour next week.
In terms of world rankings the Springboks, who are in Scotland’s Rugby World Cup pool, sit second in the IRB list; Argentina are ninth; Canada are 15th and the USA are 18th.

A number of players will not tour either through injury, elective surgery or possible involvement in the sevens competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow in July. The squad for the Commonwealth Games will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).

Jack Cuthbert and Matt Scott (both Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) and Ross Rennie (Bristol Rugby) would have been included for the tour but for injury. Additional players could yet be added to the squads.

Nine players are scheduled to undertake the entire four match tour: forwards Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur, Kevin Bryce, Moray Low, Geoff Cross and Grant Gilchrist and backs Alex Dunbar, Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg.

Kyle Traynor will join the squad after his club’s Greene King IPA Championship final second leg against London Welsh on Wednesday 4 June.

Ed’s note: It’s difficult to know what exactly will happen following phase 1 and how many might follow on into the next portion of the tour. We’ve seen plenty of selectorial nonsense during Johnson’s custody of the team but surely we’re not taking on the Pumas and the Boks without the likes of Cusiter (or even Laidlaw) in the vicinity?

I’d imagine it turns into some sort of survival of the fittest where we see who is still going by then following the first two games and the French players returning to their clubs. One thing is for sure, it’s a great chance for Finn Russell and a bit of a blow for Mark Bennett who has done more to merit inclusion than, say, Kevin Bryce (although that is down to relative depth in his positions) with Scott out and no sign of Alex Grove yet again.

It is highly likely Bennett (along with possibly Richie Vernon, Lee Jones and James Eddie) will return to Sevens duty instead.

Scotland squad for the Test matches v USA and Canada

Forwards: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) Age 22 uncapped; Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) Age 28 Caps 30; Kelly Brown (Saracens) Age 31 Caps 63; Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors) Age 25 uncapped; Blair Cowan Age 28 uncapped; Geoff Cross (both London Irish)Age 31 Caps 28; Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) Age 23 Caps 4; Richie Gray (Castres) Age 24 Caps 37; Jim Hamilton (Montpellier) Age 31 Caps 55; Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) Age 32 Caps 43; Kieran Low (London Irish)Age 23 Cap 1; Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) Age 29 Caps 26 Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) Age 27 Caps 4; Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) Age 27 uncapped; Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) Age 31 Caps 38 and Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby) Age 28 Caps 4.
Backs: Chris Cusiter (Sale Sharks) Age 31 Caps 68; Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) Age 24 Caps 8; Max Evans (Castres) Age 30 Caps 42; Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby) Age 22 Caps 3; Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) Age 21 Caps 20; Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester) Age 28 Caps 29; Sean Lamont Age 33 Caps 86; Sean Maitland Age 25 Caps 9; Finn Russell (all Glasgow Warriors) Age 21 uncapped; Duncan Taylor (Saracens) Age 24 Caps 10 and Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) Age 26 Caps 12.

Scotland squad for Test matches v Argentina and South Africa

Forwards: Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors) Age 25, uncapped; Geoff Cross (London Irish) Age 31, Caps 28; David Denton Age 24 Caps 22; Alasdair Dickinson Age 30 Caps 34; Ross Ford Age 30 Caps 75 (all Edinburgh Rugby); Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors) Age 24 Caps 2; Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby)Age 23 Caps 4; Jonny Gray Age 20 Caps 3; Rob Harley Age 24 Caps 4 (both Glasgow Warriors); Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) Age 29 Caps 26; Pat MacArthur Age 27 Caps 4, Gordon Reid Age 27 uncapped (both Glasgow Warriors); Tim Swinson Age 27 Caps 7; and Jon Welsh Age 27 Caps 2 (both Glasgow Warriors).
Backs: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) Age 24 Caps 8; Dougie Fife Age 23 Cap 1; Grayson Hart Age 25 uncapped (both Edinburgh Rugby); Stuart Hogg Age 21 Caps 20, Peter Horne Age 24 Caps 2 (both Glasgow Warriors); Ruaridh Jackson (London Wasps) Age 26 Caps 23, Sean Maitland Age 25 Caps 9; Peter Murchie Age 28 Caps 2; Henry Pyrgos Age 24 Caps 10; Tommy Seymour Age 25 Caps 8; and Duncan Weir Age 23 Caps 13 (all Glasgow Warriors).

22 Responses

  1. WTF has John Barclay done to not be considered for either squad?

    Played well for Scarlets all year.

    1. Didn’t know that – he’s not on the list of ‘not considered due to injury’ though.

    2. Barclay is one of those that have chosen to go in for surgery according to the Scarlets he has been carrying an injury for a while. I think Ryan Grant is also going for surgery as the Warriors have reported that his injury against Munster wasn’t too serious and that e should be in contention for a place in the team to play against Leinster

  2. I think Bennett should be in the squad for the USA (7th June) and Canada(14th June)games as the 7s don’t start until the 26th of July . Enough time to play then have a few weeks off then prepare for the 7s.
    I agree re. Cusiter (or even Laidlaw) playing in the second part of the tour even its only Vs Argentina because of the IRB window.

  3. Its very hared to understand some of the choices and decisions here, without more information. Its also probably not fair to comment (either positively or negatively) without being better informed by those responsible.
    Where are the journalists to dig out this info from the coaches & SRU for the fans benefit and better understanding of what is going on?
    Seems like the Scotsman has given up on this kind of questioning journalism with the SRU.

  4. I think the squad is what it is and was largely choosen by who is available rather than who deserves to go. On that basis it is hard to be to critical about it. On the positive side it gives Cotter the chance to look at a lot of players and hopefully all prevoius form now counts for very little. You would hope that the players will realise that and respond with world cup places up for grabs.
    It may seem a tall order going up against the Boks with a much weakend side but acutally we did that last summer as well and gave them quite a game, there will be no pressure on the team to get a result. The Glasgow players that will mainly make up that team should really be up for a game aganst anyone.

    1. Has SJ not been justifying his selection decisions for the past 12 months as being to give Cotter the chance to look at different players? Has that mattered or is it the Groundhog Tour

  5. Let’s face it, this reeks of cock up just like England’s tour to NZ.

    Scotland should really not be playing the SA match and should be playing Canada, then USA, then Argentina.

    As it is, we must win the first two games and hope the squad survives the final two.

  6. Anyone else notice that there are only 2 centres and 3 back-rows in the second squad?
    Not only does it let the opposition know in advance who’ll be playing but makes you wonder how Bennet, Vernon and Barclay missed the cut.

    1. Barclay – elective surgery

      Bennett/Vernon – probably going to be announced in the commonwealth sevens squad today.

  7. 7s squad confirmed which includes Roddy Grant, Sean Lamont and Tommy Seymour as well as Mark Bennett and Richie Vernon. However, both Lamont and Seymour will play vs the USA and Canada but are not in the 2nd squad to give them time to change training regimes to be best prepared for the 7s. Makes you wonder though why Mark Bennett has not been given a shot in the first squad, he is certainly the in form Glasgow centre right now…

  8. I presumed that Bennett and Grant weren’t in the Test squads because they were going to be in the 7s squad – but if Lamont and Seymour are doubling up then why aren’t they?

    So many questions here!!!
    Like where is Ryan Grant, one of our 2013 Lions

  9. I’m guessing that the decision to cap Kevin Bryce will be to replace Lawrie since he was injured last summer. It is a bit strange that they haven’t selected Fraser Brown for the same reasons though. I doubt Roddy Grant and Mark Bennett will be shut out completely and might be drafted into the South Africa/Argentina squad which is short of back rows and outside backs

    1. Potentially unlikely because I imagine that Scotland 7s will want Grant and Bennett focusing only on 7s and if they were to play in South Africa, realistically, they are unlikely to get more than 3 weeks training which would be quite tight. Add in just how tough a game against the Springboks is as well as the chance of injury and it is probably not going to be risked. I do hope though that they get a chance in the Autumn Internationals.

  10. I think age has played a bigger part in this than picking for the particular matches or trying to get a blend. He’s trying to get a look at a wide range of players but he’s clearly trying to give the older players a break at the end of the tour before the season starts rather than now.

    Forwards 28 or over for USA/Canada: Beattie, Brown, Cowan, Cross, Hamilton, Lawson, Low, Stokosh, Traynor (9/16)
    Backs 28 or over for USA/Canada: Lamont, Evans, Cusiter, Laidlaw (4/11)

    Forwards 28 or over for Arg/SA: Cross, Ford (2/14)
    Backs 28 or over for Arg/SA: Murchie (1/11)

  11. Pretty exciting squad if you ask me. Gordy Reid, Kev Bryce Johnny Gray Grant Gilchrist Richie Gray Chris Fusaro Finn Russel Sturt Hogg Peter Horne etc are all great prospects. This tour will help Cotter suss them out and get them to know him, Despite the timing I think this is exactly what we need

  12. It will be interesting to see what kind of results we get out of the 4 games….but more importantly will we be able to watch the drama unfold in games on Tv?? As sadly but not uncommon in our household I have no money to go touring!

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  14. Hope strengthening 7s squad pays off with thirst for a medal at home games understandable.Tough gig though.

    Interesting Jackson pick by Cotter after Johnson apparently discarding him.Perhaps his experience at Test level the reason but would have liked Horne tried at SO as proven skills as linchpin which Scotland need with Russell not
    around for Arg/SA games.Be another case for Bennett being taken.

  15. I really hope the new coach does our nation proud. After all the last guy was bl..dy useless and I think a couple of blind pigs could have dome=ne better.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion