If you want to know what a full strength Scotland group looks like, unfettered by injury at the start of a long season, this is not quite it. But the group announced by Gregor Townsend today gives some insight into the players he will look to in the Autumn and beyond.
They will take part in a brief summer camp in St Andrews before resuming duties with their clubs. It will be a chance for Townsend to take a look at Huw Jones and Sean Maitland who sat out the summer, as well as beginning the toughest decision he may have to make that the Lions previously spared him – what to do about Greig Laidlaw.
As usual there are a couple of new faces, including Project-y players Anton Bresler (SA) and Phil Burleigh (NZ). Considering two of our areas of depth are in the second row and at centre they may be lucky to get caps with so many ahead of them in the pecking order, but Richie Gray’s not travelling due to his back injury which gives the new coaches the chance to run the rule over the lanky South African.
More welcome are the inclusions of Darcy Graham and Matt Fagerson both of whom had stellar Junior World Championship campaigns and along with Scott Cummings will be looking for a strong season early in their pro careers to keep them involved at the national level.
There’s a welcome return too for David Denton who will visit the squad despite injury, alongside a number of players who will be a big part of Townsend’s plans.
A lonely rehab continues for Mark Bennett and Al Dickinson, among others.
Notable absentees include Josh Strauss, Matt Scott, new Glasgow signing Ruaridh Jackson (who Toony let go from the Warriors originally) and Damien Hoyland. Also missing from the group that toured in the summer are Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae and Sean Kennedy, while Jon Welsh, Simon Berghan and Cornell du Preez were involved in squads as recently as the 2017 6 Nations.
If everyone listed was fit you’d have a strong group of 23+ but there is a lot of rugby to be played, starting this weekend.
Phil Burleigh (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Huw Jones (Stormers) – 8 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 58 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 28 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 24 caps
Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 36 caps
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 21 caps
Greig Tonks (London Irish) – 8 caps
Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 33 caps
John Barclay (Scarlets) – 63 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
Anton Bresler (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Matt Fagerson (BT Sport Academy aligned to Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 110 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 16 caps
John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 16 caps
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 18 caps
Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 27 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 4 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 30 caps
INJURED BUT JOINING THE CAMP:
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)
Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby)
David Denton (Worcester Warriors)
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors)
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)
Still on the injury list and not considered:
Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh)
UPDATE: Matt Scott and Murray McCallum were called up to the camp on Sunday as cover for Phil Burleigh (shoulder) and Gordon Reid (concussion).