Scotland’s new players: Who are you?

In hindsight it’s perhaps not all that surprising that Scotland have named ten uncapped players for their upcoming Autumn Internationals squad.

Gregor Townsend and the Toony Tombola™ style of selection has taken the leap from domestic rugby to international, while Scotland’s PR team went into overdrive this week with talk of digging up every rock from Aberystwyth to Zennor in the search for Scottish qualified players.

Townsend even acknowledged this when during the selection press conference he said: “Come on then, let’s hear how many of you had those names in your squad!”

So, without further ado, in the immortal words of Cilla Black: “Number one, what’s your name and where do you come from?”

Jamie Bhatti

A call-up for the stocky young loosehead is well deserved given the amount of faith that new Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie has shown in him, and the performances that he has put in in that time. There aren’t many loosehead options in Scotland at the moment but Bhatti has taken his opportunity in both hands and the 24-year-old will hopefully learn a lot in the Scotland camp. He featured solely for Melrose over the last two seasons (bar six games for Glasgow last year during the international windows) and only signed pro-terms over the summer but has played in every Glasgow game this season, starting most of them.

Phil Burleigh

It’s hard to think that 31-year-old Burleigh would have been selected for the squad if all of Scotland’s available centres were fit and if Adam Hastings had been given more game time, but the Edinburgh playmaker is not without his merits. Any player that plays consistently in an Alan Solomon’s squad deserves a look at and if Pete Horne or any of the starting centres become crocked he could find himself in the matchday squad. He qualified on residency during the summer after joining from Highlanders in 2014 and could become our latest Kilted Kiwi.

Scott Cummings

Another player that has grasped with both hands the regular rugby that Dave Rennie has given him; Cummings definitely deserves to be in the squad. With Jonny Gray out injured earlier this season, Rennie has given 20-year-old EDP graduate Cummings chance after chance and he looks like a veteran on the pitch. A hard-running, soft-handed modern lock, Cummings has the attributes needed for the international stage and Townsend may well be tempted to put him on the bench for the Samoa match. If not, the experience of training with Scotland will do him the world of good.

Nathan Fowles

A curious one, given Edinburgh’s inconsistency this year and the fact coach Richard Cockerill still seems unsure as to who his first choice scrum-half is. Toony said that “although Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Ben Vellacott (Scottish-qualified) and Scott Steele (Dumfries-born) have all impressed us in recent weeks, Nathan’s passing accuracy is something we look for in our nines and means he is more suited to the rugby we aspire to play”. A former England U20 player, Fowles has featured sporadically for the capital side since an initial three-month loan from Sale Sharks in 2015 led to a full contract. He qualifies for Scotland through a Scottish-born grandparent.

Luke Hamilton

Surprisingly the Wales Online website did not have a full-on meltdown when the former Wales U20 player was selected, with many people actually being quite gracious and wishing that Warren Gatland had looked at him. Which worries me. Nevertheless, the Leicester Tigers back row has had a storming start to the season after spending two years hardening his nose in France with Agen. Powerful with ball-in-hand and in defence, 25-year-old Hamilton can play anywhere in the back row and Townsend may well cap him to ensure he qualifies solely for Scotland (his father is from Stirling) until his dying day. Despite being born in Pembrokeshire and playing for Wales U20s, this was pre-Steven Shingler madness so the fact that he didn’t play against France U20s means that he’s not tied to Wales.

Chris Harris

A product of the Newcastle Falcons academy, Toony stated that he was tempted to take him on tour over the summer but decided against it. Injuries may well have forced his hand now and the centre/wing could get a chance without a clear choice to partner Huw Jones if Dunbar isn’t fit. The fast, rangy centre has been critical to a Newcastle side that has been improving steadily for a couple of seasons now, playing a brand of rugby similar to Scotland’s. He qualifies through a Scottish grandparent and may be another player that Toony caps in case Eddie Jones is sniffing around.

Darryl Marfo

Allan Dell, Alasdair Dickinson and Gordy Reid are injured, Allan Jacobsen refuses to come out of retirement, and seemingly nobody likes Ryan Grant anymore, so Scotland have called up Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo. The loosehead has started just three league games this season and his inclusion may have raised a few eyebrows, although they may have dropped again once people realised Scotland’s prop injury list is longer than the list of people who don’t like Andy Robinson. The 27-year-old Londoner signed for Edinburgh in the summer on a one-year deal after spells with Bath, London Welsh and Harlequins, and has an Ayrshire-born mother.

Byron McGuigan

Having failed to make the grade at Glasgow when younger, and injury-hit while at Exeter Chiefs, Namibian-born McGuigan is finally showing the promise that many top coaches have seen in him now that he is at Sale Sharks. The winger is the top scorer in the English Premiership and even Scott Johnson would have been hard-pressed to ignore his form. With Tommy Seymour almost guaranteed on one wing, his clinical finishing may see him rise above Dougie Fife in the pecking order but behind Lee Jones, who has history with Toony. He has Scotland Sevens and Scotland A experience and qualified for them through his Glaswegian mother.

Jamie Ritchie

While all the talk may be on the new Scottish-qualified players, it is nice to see people like Ritchie come through the Edinburgh ranks and into the international fold. The 21-year-old back row has continually impressed since making his debut three years ago and it has always been a case of when, not if, he will be selected by Scotland. He is one of the first names on Cockerill’s team sheet and has played every match this season, bar two, alongside King Magnus and Cornell du Preez in an abrasive backrow. Like Hamilton, he’s played across the back row and could be useful from the bench.

George Turner

Another of Rennie’s young tight-five renegades, Turner joined Glasgow on a one-year loan this summer after making just one start in four infuriating seasons at Edinburgh and spending a short amount of time at London Scottish. His doggedness and modern style of play is something that obviously impresses Townsend who took him on the summer tour, although didn’t play him. The 25-year-old Stewart’s Melvillian has flourished thanks to regular rugby and with Ross Ford surely coming to the end of his 103-year stint as hooker, could get a chance to impress against Samoa, either off the bench or coming on for Stuart McInally.

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30 comments on “Scotland’s new players: Who are you?

  1. Berwick53 on

    Six of the ten new caps appear to be opportunists who couldn’t get into the national side of their birth, very sad!

  2. Andy on

    Some of the names above are no brainers, like Bhatti, Cummings, Ritchie and Turner – in an ideal world, you’d maybe like to see them given another season or so to mature, but given the circumstances they’re all a shoe in. Turner for me is head and shoulders above McInally, so would expect to see Ford and Turner rotate. As to the others, I think it’s a bit of a split decision for me…
    Phil Burleigh has at times looked fairly classy, but became a symbol of Solomons failure at Edinburgh and I find that a hard impression to shake off. When he’s been on form, he reminds me a bit of John Leslie and would be curious to see what he can do in a more attack minded team with some decent ball coming his way. Might be a bit of a like for like selection for the NZ game to give us that quintessential Kiwi selection of two 10’s on the pitch, however expect him only to get a look in if Horne isn’t fit.
    Nathan Fowles selection I find the most baffling of the newbies, although perhaps not as much as the inclusion of the badly out of form Pyrgos given the current form of Vellacott and Steele and the raw potential of Horne. I guess we need to trust Toonie’s instinct on this, but the reality is that if fit, Price will play 70 mins plus of every game, and then we’ll bring on Pyrgos to wave his arms around a lot then kick it out on the full.
    Hamilton and HArris – would love to have some sort of opinion on these guys, but know absolutely nothing about them beyond what we’ve seen written over the past day or so. Would be good to see Hamilton against Samoa to see what he has to offer and his journey so far sounds encouraging. Given Gatland’s selection record, I see the fact that he’s dropped off the Wales radar as a distinct positive. I wonder if Harris is being seen as potential cover for Wing if Seymour has to cover FB.
    Marfo – this guys has looked off the pace in the games I’ve seen for Edinburgh, and really don’t see how he’s a better option that some of the young Scottish guys out there, or indeed guys like Reid and Welsh/
    Byron McGuigan – no issues here. Has earned his chance of a recall and should be an exciting addition to the squad

    • Scrummo on

      When it comes to young looseheads who do you think Townsend could have called up ahead of Marfo? Bhatti has deservedly been rewarded for his good form at Glasgow but I don’t really know who else we have available. Reid is injured isn’t he and Welsh is a tighthead these days. I do think that McCallum is a superb prospect who we could see come through on either side though most likely at loosehead but he needs to emulate Bhatti and start competing for the starting shirt at his club before we consider him for Scotland. I can’t really think of anyone else who isn’t injured. by the way what depth we will have at prop in the future if we have:

      TH: Nel, Fagerson, Berghan, Rae, Nicol
      LH: Sutherland, Reid, Dell, Bhatti, McCallum, Allan

      And that’s not including Dickinson and Welsh who may still be around/back in the frame. I also still think Bryce may have something to offer given he converted to TH when he’d have been a good option at hooker right now with his bulk and Ford, the current ‘big’ hooker tailing off.

      • NADP on

        I thought McCallum played tighthead mainly? I’ve seen him play loose but I thought he was mainly a tighthead

      • David on

        McCallum was very much a TH through most of his early years I believe, but played LH for the Scotland U20s (presumably because he shared that squad with Z. Fagerson) and has stayed in that position for Edinburgh.

        I haven’t seen any of his matches this year, does anyone know where he played when he came on vs. Krasny?

  3. Colin on

    Very surprised and pleased to see Luke Hamilton in the squad as I did not know he was Scotland qualified. I watch him regularly as a Leicester Tigers season ticket holder and have been impressed with his progress over the last 18 months. Solid defence and good ball carrier with good hands -should fit in well to Scotland game plan. Tigers been playing him at open side but I see him more as a blind side flanker or No 8. Would be good bench back-up this autumn.

    • RuggersB on

      From what I’ve seen of Hamilton… he could be a real find by GT. Not physically huge guy but puts what he does have on the line…. very mobile …good hands…regularly breaks the gain line…very good defense. Can play 6 ,7 &8.

  4. Johnny john john on

    There’s a reason Josh Strauss has been left out and Hamilton is in.

    He is a standout performer for Leicester and fits perfectly with the way Toonie wants to play.

    I think he will be a real find. He’s very fast and aggressive and tough at the breakdown and has been a star man for Leicester.

    Don’t underestimate him just because you haven’t heard of him.

    I suspect Richard Cockerill may have had something to do with this, and he knows a tough forward when he sees one.

  5. Jacko on

    Fowler remains the biggest surprise here. Going forward he is never going to even make the bench for the Scotland side, Where someone like Velacott has the potential to develop in to someone who could push Price.

    Maybe at this stage we haven’t the talent at 9 that we’ve been blessed with over the years and this might just be a sign of that.

    Excited to see how abrasive Hamilton can be in that back row and it’s all about getting the balance of that back row right to compete. Excited to see where this side can go and hoping this allows to build some depth in areas we’ve been lacking

  6. Rj on

    Let’s not forget most of us had never heard of Huw Jones before he turned up and scored two tries vs Australia!

    With regards the scrum halves, it would be disappointing if the likes of vellacott, Horne and Steele were not in the squad come this time next season. I feel fowles and pyrgos are basically marking time until these lads (and an Improved SHC) come to the fore.

    Several people have been talking about the strength in depth we have in the front row when everyone is fit. Being realistic though, how many of those props would get into other 6N starting front rows? Not many in my opinion barring a full firing WP Nel, and he has not been at the races for Edinburgh this season.

  7. Andrew McGavin on

    Not a new face in the Scotland squad, but great to see Huw Jones winning Man of the Match with two good tries in the Currie Cup Final.

  8. Scrummo on

    Bit of analysis on Scotland’s propping options:

    Tighthead

    WP Nel
    Height 1.82m
    Weight 120kg
    Caps 18

    Despite a bit of scepticism following his arrival and status as a project player, Nel quickly established himself as the cornerstone of Edinburgh’s pack and almost immediately upon becoming available for Scotland took up the same role for the national squad. Such as been his dominance he was lauded as one of the finest scrummaging props in the world and penned in as a banker for the Lions tour before a serious neck injury which he is only just recovering from now. Recent signs suggest he may be on the up again which will hearten all Scotland fans.

    Zander Fagerson
    Height 1.86m
    Weight 121kg
    Caps 12

    Following years of reliance on Euan Murray (or Geoff Cross and Moray Low on Sundays) many Scotland fan’s hearts may have sunk as news of Nel’s injury spread. They needn’t have worried though as the young Glasgow tighthead was more than ready to step into the breach. Still only 21 Fagerson has established himself as first choice at Glasgow and has already shown that he will not be pushed around at any level. Fierce in the loose and never one to back down, Fagerson’s scrummaging has looked slightly suspect this season at Glasgow but the potential is almost unlimited.

    Simon Berghan
    Height 1.93m
    Weight 128kg
    Caps 3

    Qualifying for Scotland through his grandfather Berghan initially came across as a bit of a lump who couldn’t pull his weight in the loose. Gradually the towering prop has worked hard to dispel this image though. Undoubtedly benefiting first from Nel’s ascent to the Scotland squad and then from his injury Berghan initially established that he was more than capable of anchoring the scrum before an improving level of fitness saw his influence in the loose and noticeably his defence improving. Currently outperforming a rusty WP Nel at Edinburgh Berghan is arguably Scotland’s best option for a scrummaging tighthead.

    Darcey Rae
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 125kg
    Caps 0

    Big unit and better in the scrum than Fagerson so far this season though not as dynamic in the loose. Rae has played well for Glasgow during limited gametime over the last couple of seasons but like Berghan with Nel may always be in the shadow of his more illustrious clubmate.

    John Welsh
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 124kg
    Caps 11

    A real fan favourite when at the Warriors Welsh looked destined for a long spell as Scotland’s starting loosehead when he broke into the national side. Solid in the scrum, combative in the loose, hard as nails and a decent size. All attributes not always common in the Scotland front row. A combination of a move to Newcastle and a switch to the tighthead side seem to have done him no favours though with a now extended period out in the cold still ongoing. Still if a player this good can’t get in the squad is bodes well to some extent.

    Murray McCallum
    Height 1.88m
    Weight 117kg
    Caps 0

    McCallum is another incredibly young prop who has started on both sides of the scrum for Edinburgh after coming through mostly as a loosehead at age grade level. McCallum may well end up being the best of the lot with an already recognisable presence at scrum time where he has despite his tender years held his own against all comers so far. McCallum is also rugged and powerful in the loose and well able to make an impact.

    Loosehead

    Alasdair Dickinson
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 111kg
    Caps 58

    Much derided during his first spell in the side Dickinson returned to the fold and became an absolute fixture and fan favourite at loosehead before his current run of injuries. Dickinson is getting on a bit now and there are plenty of young contenders ready to step into his place so the clock is ticking if he is to make a return to the national squad.

    Allan Dell
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 112kg
    Caps 10

    Arriving at the same time as Simon Berghan the former South African age grade player is almost like a polar opposite. Playing on the opposite side of the scrum Dell is as useful in the loose as Berghan is at scrum time. Unfortunately in the past he’s been a touch weak in the tight as well although this season there have been some signs of improvement in this aspect following his stint as a British and Irish Lion last summer. With a more rounded game Dell who is also still reasonably young could be a real asset for Scotland for years to come.

    Gordon Reid
    Height 1.88m
    Weight 120kg
    Caps 27

    The bigman doesn’t look like a modern prop and seems to have had to wait a long time on the fringes before getting an extended period in the side. Reid never lets Scotland down though, stable at scrum time, aggressive in the loose and doesn’t let anyone intimidate him. A move down South will hopefully not see Reid follow Welsh into international exile.

    James Bhatti
    Height 1.86m
    Weight 110kg
    Caps 0

    Fagerson’s usual frontrow partner at Glasgow this season has been Bhatti. Bhatti’s performances on the loosehead side have mirrored his colleague’s on the other side. The scrum has been worrying no doubt but Bhatti has impressed in the loose with his carrying and tackling and is worthy of a call up to what is an injury hit squad. Should start and with a bit of ballast behind him will hopefully impress.

    Rory Sutherland
    Height 1.83m
    Weight 110kg
    Caps 3

    At one point Sutherland looked like he was right behind Dickinson and a banker to usurp him at both club and international level as first choice loosehead. Sutherland is the ideal modern loosehead prop, more than solid in the scrum and more than useful in the loose. Unfortunately he seems to have followed Dickinson when it comes to injury problems too. Still has time on his side though and will hopefully return to fitness and contention this season.

    Darryl Marfo
    Height 1.87m
    Weight 120kg
    Caps 0

    Who? Aviva Premiership journeyman Marfo is likely Edinburgh’s fourth choice loosehead but incredibly following his summer move could be starting for Scotland this Autumn. Having already looked a tough wobbly at scrum time for Edinburgh though without any true embarrassment this is more a sign of current injury woes than Marfo’s form. Still Cockerill has a keen eye for a decent forward so Marfo clearly won’t be a mug in the frontrow and with a decent pack around him won’t let anyone down.

    • David on

      Great summary, thanks for that.

      I think/hope Adam Nicol could be added to the list soon too. More strength than we might think, although a fair few of these guys are quite long in the tooth now.

      • Scrummo on

        Thanks for the kind words guys, may look to practice my article writing a bit more in the future.

        And I was really tempted to stick Nicol in as well as I rate him but thought I’d keep the numbers on each side even. Agree on Fagerson as well, stick some real weight behind him and potentially a bit more grunt alongside him and I think he’ll be a destructive scrummager in the future.

    • JohnMc on

      Nice piece, Scrummo. I’d actually lost sight of the fact that Zander is still only 21. Which is, what, seven or eight years or even a couple more than that before a forward is expected to peak these days? He was thrown in to last year’s AIs and did more than just ok. I take your point about his scrummaging looking a little suspect this year, but maybe that’s because he’s in not the strongest front five in club rugby at the mo.
      Whatever, he fronted up and took no nonsense from the Wallabies in June in early tight and loose exchanges and that imo helped build a winning mentality that day. Granted, Wayne Barnes later in the game had his number at scrum time and what better replacement that day for him than WP!
      Looking beyond TH prop to options elsewhere, the signs of strength in depth are such that a few of our current star performers at Test level will find themselves under pressure to keep their places in the build up to RWC 19.
      This year’s AIs give Toonie some room for manoeuvre and experiment. Having said that, I’d like to see the strongest possible side put out for the New Zealand Test, and the same or not much different for the Wallabies match. Gotta have a real go at the ABs – we get few chances to do that – and it would be pleasing to win two on the bounce against Australia.

      • Neil on

        Not just that john but it will be nice to stuff it to gatland when scotland beat nz.

        2 scots in original squad , 0 in all tests.

  9. pragmatic optomist on

    A good article scrummo.
    I am concerned about how long some of these injuries seem to last. They must be serious injuries given the recovery time needed. I did wonder whether Dickinson and Sutherland might be forced to retire, as they both seem to have been out for well over a year.

    • David on

      My own hope on this front is that Scotland have learnt the lessons not only with our own players, but also with other nation’s players, about rushing injured guys back too quickly. You only have to look at the number of players who have setbacks soon after returning from injury to see that playing before you are properly healed can have big repercussions.

  10. Bulldog on

    Zander Fagerson was being picked on. If you don’t respond, you are in for a miserable afternoon in the front row, the earlier comment is spot on.

    It is an intimidating place and you learn a few life skills. It is not a place for bully’s or egotistic big mouths. Why? because there is always someone bigger and harder. The response needs to be proportionate and measured. You need to gain respect, not to be feared or seen as a loose cannon.

    He managed them well.The success of the line out move was the ultimate response. Harley giving that call was good leadership. It tells me his team mates respect him.

    I think that says it all, the greatest respect is not what we think, or what the opposition think, it is what his friends think.

    Well done ZF , he lived up to those words written on his bandage.

    • Rory Baldwin on

      Half the time he’s wading into stuff that doesn’t involve him though, and while no-one wants to see our lads take a backward step, it is often unnecessary. WP rarely gets involved in the rough stuff; people respect him for his scrummaging.

      • Bulldog on

        You must be watching a different game from me Rory.I seen all sorts from holding him in when the maul was over to what we all saw.As we all know we often target a player .He is young and in a key position.They went for it and he was more than able.A point I note you have not disputed.

  11. Scrummo on

    Some analysis on Scotland’s options at hooker:

    Ross Ford
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 113kg
    Caps 110

    Ah big Ross Ford, for so many years Scotland’s only option at 2. At times maligned by fans for his inadequate hooking, lack of oomph when carrying, dodgy darts and quiet captaincy but you can’t argue with 100+ caps and a Lions call up. Despite the criticism Ross has been an ever present and has at times been a key part of our defence, a bullocking presence in the loose and a rock in the scrum particularly during the two periods with Murray and Jacobsen and then Nel and Dickinson playing either side. Getting on a bit now but still a fixture in squads.

    Fraser Brown
    Height 1.82m
    Weight 103kg
    Caps 28

    The apparent heir to Ford, Brown is the archetype of the modern hooker. Perfectly happy offering the option as an extra backrow (or even starting there for Glasgow!) Brown is superb in the loose. As with Ford question marks over his lineout throwing have lingered but it’s been some time since Scotland had a top quality line out so there is probably more to it that just the throwing. With 28 caps and few high profile errors and rushes of blood to the head behind him now is the time for Brown to press on and become a fixture in the front row.

    Stuart McInally
    Height 1.90m
    Weight 105kg
    Caps 9

    Also equally at home in the backrow since his conversion McInally has shown the sort of flashes that suggest he could be an international class hooker and looks to be pushing Ford out at Edinburgh this season. He’s ideally situated with Cockerill at Edinburgh to continue learning and if McInally and Brown can establish genuine competition to start for Scotland then we will have more depth in the position than for many a year.

    George Turner
    Height 1.80m
    Weight 102kg
    Caps 0

    Most had probably forgotten about Turner as he slipped further and further down the pecking order at Edinburgh but following Cockerill’s arrival and now a loan move to Glasgow Turner has burst firmly onto Townsend’s radar. He’s on the small side, no doubt especially if you compare him to someone like the lumbering Ford. But expected misgivings at scrum time aside Turner is an absolute dynamo around the pitch and offers something totally different to most of our options. Expect him to be capped from the bench this Autumn.

    Pat MacArthur
    Height 1.83m
    Weight 100kg
    Caps 6

    MacArthur used to be oft touted as the man who should replace Ross Ford. He was smallish but capable in the tight but also would offer more around the pitch and be more reliable at the lineout. MacArthur’s six caps weren’t enough for him to cement his place in the squad however and he seems to be stuck in the “good club player” bracket and with Turner now ahead of him at Glasgow will likely stay there.

    James Malcolm
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 109kg
    Caps 0

    Malcolm has looked like a decent prospect for awhile now and has had a reasonable amount of game time at Glasgow over the past couple of seasons albeit it usually from the bench. Malcolm is big enough and has all the tools needed to succeed but just doesn’t seem to have pressed on enough to compete with Brown for first choice at the Warriors. At 23 Malcolm still has time on his side but will need a significant breakthrough if he’s to squeeze past Brown, Turner and even MacArthur at the Warriors in to the position where he’s pushing for a Scotland call up.

    Jake Kerr
    Height 1.86m
    Weight 106kg
    Caps 0

    Former under 20s captain Kerr is only 21 and never made the breakthrough at Edinburgh despite getting onto the bench during an injury crisis. However Kerr is now on the books at Leicester and seems to have recovered from the knee injury which hindered his time at Edinburgh. Having made an appearance for the Tigers during pre-season the hard carrying Kerr is definitely one to keep an eye on as he’s another with all the tools to succeed.

    Kevin Bryce
    Height 1.85m
    Weight 120kg
    Caps 3

    But Bryce converted to tighthead I hear you say! Yes well I think he should convert back. If you seen my analysis of our propping options I’d have Bryce outside the top six options with others such as Nicol beginning to come through to boot. At hooker however we’re far shorter of depth and at 120kg Bryce would offer a real big ballast (Ross Ford) style alternative to the more mobile options. Considering he had already been capped at hooker before converting that decision looks a bit suspect to me but maybe it’s not too late as he’d be a handy replacement for Ford as he winds down. I think you’d generally prefer the more mobile option but an alternative card to play shouldn’t be sniffed at.

    • DesT on

      Great comments again scrummo.

      How many of those hookers can actually hook, and does it really matter that they can’t? The reason I ask is that I fell that if we could hook the ball like we used to we’d get quicker ball.

      • Mr Money on

        I wonder if hamish watson could be a good hooker , has the build for it , incredible strength , short , for me a blend of dane coles and that argentine hooker. could be world class.

  12. Spoons on

    Some good analysis there Scrummo, only thing worth calling out, is that McCallum mostly plays at TH for Edinburgh (I say mostly, the limited number of times he’s played is possibly more accurate), he’s been listed a couple of times at LH, but that is primarily due to the nightmare that has been Edinburgh & Scotland’s LH injury crisis. Aware he can play both sides, but he’s going to have to stick to one going forward as it’s rare for a prop to succeed playing both. Not fussed which side he eventually lands on as we have young quality players at both LH & TH, but TH would probably make sense.

    With regards to Kevin Bryce, his future like you say probably isn’t at TH, he didn’t seem overly keen on the position change to TH and even less keen on the club change that went along with it. He’s way down the pecking order at TH (even at club level) so will likely never cut it at international level, not necessarily through any fault of his own.

    He’s been asked to reposition himself into one of the most technical positions on the field at an age when he should be in his prime. It seems to take 2-3 seasons at least to change position successfully, McInally I think is in his 3rd season since changing from backrow to hooker and he’s now showing a good level of understanding and quality there. Bryce’s issue is that he is 29, he’s going to take another couple of years at least to get any way capable of playing TH at a decent level, so by the time he’s halfway decent Fagerson will have had another couple of years honing his skills. McCallum will have (hopefully) started to get some more game time at TH and Adam Nicol will have had some more games as well in theory. Essentially I am agreeing with you in terms of his future at TH. However I think this experiment at moving him to TH has ruined his chances of getting a shot at hooker as well, he’s sort of in front row limbo.

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