Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland Squad for the Six Nations 2017 Announced

Huw Jones celebrates
Huw Jones celebrates scoring for Scotland vs Australia at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Vern Cotter announced his final Scotland squad today before heading off to Montpellier. Now that they’ve signed Aaron Cruden, he won’t have to worry so much about first five-eighths…

Scotland will be in Pre Six Nations camp at Oriam from 23rd to 25th January after this weekend’s European action concludes the pool stages. Given it’s not a lot of time that they have together, Cotter has opted largely to stick with the players who have performed for him during his all too brief tenure.

The only uncapped faces are Cornell du Preez and Simon Berghan, although Matt Scott, Ben Toolis and Jon Welsh have earned recalls from the wilderness following impressive form in the Premiership. WP Nel picked up a neck injury on his first game back and the results of the scan should determine his availability this evening.

The story at hooker, scrum half and back three remains the same as the last squad. To quote coach Cotter:

“The backline gives us a little versatility with Huw Jones able to play several positions, as can Duncan Taylor”; so don’t be surprised if either of them ends up on the wing over the course of the tournament. It”ll be a first taste of the Six Nations for Jones and du Preez should they make the grade.

Excited yet?

Scotland Squad


PROP (7)
Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby) – 3 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 15 caps
Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons) – 11 caps

Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 102 caps
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps

LOCK (5)
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Richie Gray (Toulouse) – 60 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 15 caps
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap

John Barclay (Scarlets) – 55 caps
Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 13 caps
Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps


Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester) – 56 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps

Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
Duncan Weir (Edinburgh Rugby) – 23 caps

Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Huw Jones (Stormers) – 3 caps
Matt Scott (Gloucester) – 36 caps
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 18 caps

Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 48 caps
Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 26 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 28 caps

Not currently considered through injury: David Denton (hamstring, Bath Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (foot, Edinburgh Rugby), Pete Horne (ankle, Glasgow Warriors), Rory Hughes (knee, Glasgow Warriors), Rory Sutherland (groin, Edinburgh Rugby).

24 Responses

  1. Enough bludgeon and rapier to beat Ireland first up. Need the forwards to play at the same level intensity the Glasgow Warriors reached last week.

    Bradbury unfortunate to not make the cut, however would expect him to feature later in the tournament.

    Best Scotland squad I have seen in the professional era.

  2. Who’s missing?

    Ruaridh Jackson for one.

    Also, Its a “surprise” to see how few caps will be on the field…4 players over 50..11 players over or on 25…12 with under 10.

    I suspect this is significantly less than the other nations.

    1. In a way, I see this as a good thing. I think this team has a shot in most games this year (away to England being the only one I can’t make any case for us winning.) This team is right at the beginning of its natural life cycle which means the core of the squad can perhaps be settled for the next 1 or 2 world cups.

      Lots of exciting players involved, plenty of young talent and if all they are missing is experience then that is absolutely fine because that’s what they are going get. Bucket loads of it.

      1. Fair comment. Backs against the wall effort might suit this team but still feels like it might be a little too early for them.

        Don’t get me wrong, delighted if it happens and I know that the night beforehand, I’ll convince myself we’ve got a great chance.

      2. Ireland can beat the ABs after 100+ years, we can win at “Twickers” after 30ish!

        Anyone who is going want to volunteer to lead a rousing rendition of “You can stick your f***ing chariots up your arse”?

      3. James : Well said on going to twickenam, I was there in 99 and we were by far the better side, still lost 24-21. Scott Murray was man of the match and Armstong ran the show.

        Not sure I would be singing that response mind you, I prefer to do our singing on the park and walk in silence with dignity … enjoying listening to their every step and murmour of pain and humiliation from their fans.

        It would appear I am a big old fashioned bulldog :)

    2. Wales 9 over 5, 16 over 25
      England, havent seen their squad yet but ther AI squad was 7/16
      France likewise, AI was 3/12
      Ireland likewise, AI was 9/16

      Other than France who have been a basket case for a few years now, we are way behind on the experience curve, which is why teams like Wales and Ireland can cheat us off the park. We don’t play enough rugby internationals compared to these teams.

      1. Andy, I haven’t accessed the stats but agree with you that it does seem to be that in summer tours we haven’t been playing as many Tests against Tier One sides as Eng, Ire and Wales. To be brutally honest, I think this has been because for the last ten years or so we’ve not been so hot, and therefore not an attraction for host unions and fans. If we continue our upward progress then who knows we may get better offers for future tours.

      2. JohnMc, you’ve got that right. England command crowds wherever they go, as do France to an extent as they are the traditional Northern super powers. In addition, England, Wales and Ireland know that they will sell out the stadium whichever big nation they play and often the visiting team gets money off the back of that.

        For Scotland, the team has been poor for so long that

        1. when we go away, people don’t want to see us, particularly against their 2nd team and

        2. We’ve often struggled to fill our stadium for AI’s because no scots want to see us lose to Southern 2nd teams.

        If we get better and provide stiffer tests to the SOuthern teams (as we have been) I’d imagine we might see a bit of an increase in tours to the big boys.

        That said, the increasing pressure to include 2nd tier teams in tours means that set ups like our last trip to South Africa and this summer’s tour to Australia might become the norm for all but the biggest.

      3. Plus it’s basic maths: there are 4 home nations plus France, and three SH biggies plus Argentina. Everyone can’t all have 3 test tours every year. As the smallest box-office draw (in terms of rugby if not diaspora) we’ve had to look elsewhere, and there also seems to have been a strategy of not punching too far above our weight which has slowly helped build a winning(ish) culture.

      4. Crucial to our position in the rankings as well. Going away and beating smaller nations or inviting them to Scotland to guarantee at least a win every year was borderline crucial to us not collapsing down the rankings.

        If we compare that to the football team for a moment (sorry,) it’s served us far better than getting ties which end up seeing us hammered simply because it’s a big earner against a good team.

  3. …………….but it’s surely a very exciting squad, with so many forwards and backs capable of making line-breaks and opening up space on the field. A very promising conglomeration of dynamic individuals. I’m a believer!

    1. Agree wasn’t meant to be a negative comment. I was just surprised by the bare facts of number of caps…the level of experience overall is still sub-peak AND the players involved are already good, so indeed we are looking at good years ahead (hopefully).

      1. Just need them to develop some on field leadership and nouse -call the drop goals when needed, get the ref onside and, most of all, stand up for yourselves and don’t let more experienced “players” get the better of you!

  4. Not many surprises in there. Good to see Toolis and Scott back in. Without Dicko and Nel fit and playing I feel a little less optimistic. As has been pointed out, very much a fairly callow team. Would like to see BRadbury in there, but back row competition is intense and he is the least experienced in a team lacking experience. Given the lack of caps I think 3 wins would have to be considered a very good outcome. Hopefully we play to the best of our abilities in each test and give Vern the send off he deserves.

  5. I’m pleased with the squad, would have liked to have seen Dicko in, and I think Nel will miss the first couple of games, but across the rest of the team it’s looking good.

    With the squad in mind and given the opposition, in the opening game I reckon BVC will go for:

    Dell, Ford, Fagerson, Gray, Gray, Barclay, Watson, Strauss, Laidlaw, Russell, Maitland, Dunbar, Jones, Seymour, Hogg

    Brown, Reid, Welsh, Swinson, Wilson, Hardie, Price, Taylor

  6. Difficult to disagree with BVC on that set of names, but obviously I’ll try to do better when the match day squad is picked.

    Delighted to see Toolis back in – pity for him that Swinson is in the form of his life.

    I would hope BVC calls up Bradbury & Kinghorn to train with the squad – they must have been close to being bolters.

  7. Interesting comments from BVC that Huw Jones can play fullback. Another bonus should anything happen to Hogg like against Wales last year when we missed that quality for 60mins. A big scalp for this team is just round the corner and then it’s all up for grabs as long they keep the mental performance high, that’s still the big challenge for this side while the caps are still low compared to the other nations.

  8. Jeez not looking good for Nel. Still no word on what’s wrong or likely prognosis – would be awful to get a career-ending injury months before your contract is up.

    1. I’m sure i read that it’s a disk problem. Serious, but usually recoverable from ( having had two herniate myself). They can work wonders with such injuries these days, but if there’s a weakness it’s not a good place to have it as a prop. I don’t know if they can fuse vertebrate there. I would guess not as you probably need the flexibility. Anyway, my ramblings are completely by the by. Fingers crossed that Wullie’s injury can be fixed and he’s back before too long.

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