Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland Squad: Townsend takes the Tombola on the road

Adam Hastings of Glasgow
Adam Hastings - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has announced his summer touring squad for the annual foreign mish-mash of one-off tests – this time it is USA, Canada and Argentina – and as is usual during the development spell there are a few new names on board.

There are also, of course, two stalwarts of Scottish rugby who definitely aren’t going. Former Edinburgh and now Newcastle back row Ally Hogg is retiring from rugby of all sorts this season, while winger Tim Visser has merely announced his retirement from international rugby. Hogg, 35, hasn’t been involved with the Scotland set-up in quite some time and it seems criminal that he’s retiring on just 48 caps given our struggles in the back row, perhaps not recently but certainly during the Huw Blake/Blair Cowan days of Scott Johnson’s reign. Dutch-born Visser’s impact was brighter and shorter with 14 tries in 33 appearances but he clearly wishes to concentrate on his club and young family. We wish both all the best for the future.

And so to the squad.

With Matt Fagerson not listed in Brian Redpath’s U20s squad for the Junior World Champs it was always a safe bet he would travel, especially with the reports earlier in the week that several key names like John Barclay, Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Jonny Gray would be rested ahead of a busy World Cup season for 2018-2019. These reports turn out to be true along with Ryan Wilson, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland also resting and injuries or surgery for WP Nel, Huw Jones, Hamish Watson and John Hardie giving them a summer off.

Some who make the “unlucky to miss out” list might include Matt Scott, Edinburgh’s Darryl Marfo, Chris Dean and Mark Bennett, and Glasgow’s Henry Pyrgos. Other names from the Six Nations absent this time round include Nathan Fowles, Gordon Reid, Rob Harley and Cornell du Preez.

All of which leaves the squad looking slightly inexperienced in some areas such as wing, standoff and openside.

It does of course give Townsend the chance to blood some of the rising talent like George Horne, Adam Hastings and Murray McCallum all of whom will tour. Other names from previous Scotland squads like Luke Hamilton, Chris Harris and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne are also back in the fold. If we look at it optimistically, with a possible return to proper tours for Scotland following 2019 there might not be as much chance for as much experimentation or development over the coming years given the depth we would need to mount a serious challenge over 2 or 3 tests against one of the SANZAR lot.

The presence of Pete Horne and Hastings junior (and Ruaridh Jackson too) goes some way to answering the question about what you do when Finn isn’t available, as does the call up of new name James Lang of Harlequins (age 23), the fly-half/centre who it has to be said wasn’t on many radars. Lang has been making regular appearances for Quins this season both starting and from the bench, and re-signed with the club for next season following his 2 year academy deal. Be warned, the Welsh may claim him (though he did at least turn out for our U18s).

Oh, and welcome back SuperDunc Taylor!

There is also the question of who fills the leadership hole that group will leave in the squad, and the answer is Stuart McInally, who will captain his country at the end of his finest season to date. There are also other experienced figures like Stuart Hogg, Fraser Brown and Richie Gray peppered throughout the squad. Richie misses out on a tour with his brother but the brothers Horne and Fagerson will both be in full effect.

One final quandary is in the back row – neither Hamish Watson, John Hardie nor John Barclay will travel, so who packs down at openside will be an interesting puzzle for the Scotland coaching group. There isn’t an out and out ferret in the team, but plenty of 6.5s like Jamie Ritchie or Luke Hamilton.

Here’s a bash at a match day squad that is likely to be the strongest possible say for Argentina, but I would expect to see a bit more experimentation on this tour in the earlier games. Picking a back row that looks balanced was quite tricky…

Possible Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn, Duncan Taylor, Alex Dunbar, Byron McGuigan, Pete Horne, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, Stuart McInally (capt), Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Richie Gray, Matt Fagerson, Luke Hamilton, David Denton.
Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Nick Grigg.


Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby) – 10 caps
David Denton (Worcester Warriors) – 39 caps
Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 22 caps
Richie Gray (Toulouse) – 65 caps
Luke Hamilton (Leicester Tigers) – 1 cap
Murray McCallum (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap
Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh Rugby) – 17 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 36 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps

BACKS (15)

Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 2 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 60 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps
Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
James Lang (Harlequins) – uncapped
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 3 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 21 caps

Unavailable through injury: Luke Crosbie (knee), John Hardie (back), Huw Jones (wrist surgery scheduled), Willem Nel (knee assessment / rehabilitation), Hamish Watson (shoulder).

2018 Summer Tour
Saturday 9 June: Canada v Scotland; Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton (kick-off 7.10pm local)
Saturday 16 June: USA v Scotland; BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston (kick-off 7pm local)
Weekend of 22 June: Argentina v Scotland; Estadio Centenario (kick-off 4.40pm local)

90 Responses

  1. Anyone know what has happened to Darryl Marfo? He’s gone from AI golden boy to not even making the Embra squad post injury – is he not the same player post injury?

    We have 3 full-backs, will be very interesting to see what Toonie has planned. I presume Hogg is going as the experienced back as there are only a few, but I really want to Kinghorn play as many games as possible at 15 – he’ll probably start on the wing against Arg.

    Dont really see the point in Harris, I would rather have seen Dean or Johnstone than him.

    Lang is a strange one- 23 starts for Quins – but we really are struggling at 10.

    Lets hope Matt Fagerson plays a full role in the tour as I cant help feeling the u20s might have needed him more.

    A decent squad and an insight into the depth we are finally building.

    1. Re- Marfo : Turned out for watsonians and was terrible. Nick Beavon Schooled him. Looked like he’d put on a stone or two aswell…

  2. That’s an exciting squad, and great to see that Crosbie was in contention. Three electric SHs is a really positive step. Do you miss having an out-and-out 7 when you’ve got the likes of Dunbar, McInally, Fagerson and Brown in the matchday 23? Hoping to see BK at fullback for a period to see what he can do. If he lives up to his promise then that’s some top quality cover for Hogg if he’s rested or injured. My 23:

    15. Hogg
    14. Kinghorn
    13. Dunbar
    12. Taylor
    11. Jones
    10. Hastings
    9. Horne
    1. Bhatti
    2. McInally
    3. Fagerson
    4. Gray
    5. Toolis
    6. Fagerson
    7. Ritchie
    8. Bradbury

    16. Brown
    17. Dell
    18. Berghan
    19. Gilchrist
    20. Hamilton
    21. SHC
    22. Horne
    23. McGuigan

    1. Team Cam – agree with your team selection at this stage.

      Hope all the young guys have a great experience and play for the team.

      Hope the matches are being televised.

      1. Has anyone heard what channel it’ll be on? Surely someone will televise the games.

  3. First choice 23 for Argentina

    1. Allan Dell
    2. Stuart Mcinally (C)
    3. Simon Berghan
    4. Richie Gray
    5. Grant Gilchrist
    6. Luke Hamilton
    7. Jamie Ritchie
    8. Matt Fagerson
    9. George Horne
    10. Adam Hastings
    11. Duncan Taylor
    12. Peter Horne
    13. Alex Dunbar
    14. Blair Kinghorn
    15. Stuart Hogg

    16. Fraser Brown
    17. Jamie Bhatti
    18. Zander Fagerson
    19. Tim Swinson
    20. Magnus Bradbury
    21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
    22. Byron Mcguigan
    23. Lee Jones

    Alot of tough decisions but the combinations swayed the desicion (Dell over bhatti), (Horne over SHC)

    2 Wings on the bench as i have none in the 15. (Taylor can go 12-13) Kinghorn (fullback or 10) (Pete Horne can go 10)

  4. Im dissapointed Johnson, Dean or Bennett did not go over Harris. I dread if he starts against Argentina he will get torn apart.

    1. If you mean Sam Johnson, rather than James Johnstone, then I think he doesn’t qualify until July so won’t be able to feature. A possible introduction in the AIs beckons.

    2. I hadn’t even noticed Bennett wasn’t there – thats a shocking decision from Toonie.

    3. Harris was in the wrong team at the wrong time in Cardiff. Not saying he’s a first choice, but he’s been rock solid for a good Newcastle team all season – don’t write him off just yet.
      Shame about Crosbie being injured – I really rate him

  5. It’s an interesting selection, with a good balance between (1) experienced players, who could use the game time having had injury-disrupted seasons, (2) squad members, who need more exposure to international rugby to assess squad depth in advance of RWC19, (3) a few players returning from the periphery, and (4) younger, inexperienced players, who are getting the chance to make a push for RWC on the basis of recent form. Most of the squad could fit into one of these categories.

    One of the intriguing selections for me is the lack of depth on the wing. Neither Taylor or Kinghorn are specialists in that position, but both could more than adequately cover it. Which leaves Jones and McGuigan as “first choices”. But having said that, I’m struggling to think of anyone else who doesn’t need the summer off (e.g. Seymour) or currently has persistent injury/form problems (e.g. Hoyland or Hughes), that would otherwise slot in.

    I am probably more excited than it is strictly necessary to be, that we could see a back row of Fagerson, Ritchie and Bradbury. Offers a lot of potential and, in particular, gives Jamie Ritchie a chance to show that there is someone to fill the Watson/Barclay/Hardie-shaped hole in the squad. And that’s before we get a chance to see what Luke Hamilton can really do in a Scotland jersey.

    1. As well as much discussed player shortages at 10 (and 2?), the lack of decent young wingers is a worry. Maitland, Seymour, Jones, McGuigan et al will see us through to the World Cup but all are the wrong side of 25 & not sure where the younger talent is going to come from. Hoyland looked really promising a couple of seasons ago but has hardly featured for Embra this season. Fingers crossed one or two emerge soon.
      Maybe a bit hard on Bennett though I feel he just needs a bit more game time at club level to be truly cooking again. Happy to give Harris another go though can’t have that many lives left. Back-row selection will be interesting & on paper at least, should have some grunt and attitude. On the whole, pleased with the squad & also with the players that are being rested. Probably a good test of Toonies management skills to see if this less experienced group can convincingly put away the summer opposition.

  6. Hastings is a no-brainer. Interesting selection with James Lang, can’t say I’ve seen him but he’s had a couple of appearances for Quins and is only 22/23 so could be a prospect. Another interesting point is the comments of Bryan Redpath regarding his son Cameron, he’s in the England U20 squad as fly half but Bryan has said he still hopes to see him turn out for Scotland.

    Harris didn’t impress in 6N but maybe we’ve written him off a bit to early, still can’t see him making next years 6N squad if everyone’s fit. Would have liked Bennett to go, he’s just starting to get back to his best. Thank god SuperDunc is back, we could have used him in 6N.

    Horne Jr deserves the call, will get on at some point but can’t quite see him starting at this stage. SHC has found some form but Ali Prices season has dropped into a black hole somewhere, hopefully he re-discovers his mojo.

    Kinghorn will probably get a start at 15 in one of the 1st 2 matches, He’ll also get a run on the wing at some point.

    What we’re still really missing is a good number 8, Denton can burst the line but is nowhere near the likes of Stander, Faletou et al. If Mata was Scottish he’d be my first choice. Anyone heard anything about Strauss?

  7. Does anyone know if Cummings is injured, as he’s been Glasgow’s best 2nd row in a few games I’ve seen this year and would have been worth a spot?

    Other than that, only the inclusion of Harris and Toonie still ignoring Strauss stand out as maybe not being the best squad available given injuries/rest.

  8. Decent squad – good balance of new and old.

    G.Horne and SHC seems to confirm my suspicion that Pyrgos and Fowles were in the 6n squad to make up the numbers with no intention of playing them while giving Horne and SHC plenty of game time for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    Chris Harris is the only really questionable pick for me – he was terrible for Scotland, but maybe Townsend can see something there and he just had a shocker? Bennett missing out is a disappointment.

    10 will be interesting – will it be Hastings with P.Horne backing him up (but I would argue if Hastings starts, Horne will be invaluable outside him), or maybe go crazy and have Hogg as backup 10 and 15 if Kinghorn starts some games (or vice versa)…..

    At 9 I really want G.Horne to be starting at least 2 of the matches, but we need to give Price some time and see if he can shake off his recent slump in form. SHC may be lucky to get much of a shot this tour.

    Hopefully Luke Hamilton will impress after his brief cameo in the autumn which showed promise.

    We really need to be winning all these games. Argentina is the obvious candidate to beat us, but I’m sure we will field our strongest team against them. I will be more nervous about USA or Canada against mainly fringe players potentially being a banana skin.

    Can’t wait!

  9. Taking Harris over Mark Bennett, Chris Dean or Matt Scott seems a bit left field. On the other hand Harris has been starting for Newcastle pretty much all season at 13, and they haven’t been doing badly.
    Not saying he’s the better player, but he has certainly had more game time recently. OK internationally he’s only played twice – coming on with 22 minutes to go in a scrappy game against Samoa and, although he had a bad performance away to Wales he was not alone (nor the worst). This record does not make him a bad player.
    Getting Newcastle to their first ever AP play off doesn’t make him a great one, either. But for me he deserves a second chance.

    1. What concerns me is Toonie appears to have written off Bennett now – this tour was made for him, he didn’t return until Jan.

      Players seem to fall out of favour with Toonie too easily for my liking.

      Bennett is a tremendous player who should be on the plane.

      1. maybe he would prefer Bennett to get back on his feet and wants him to have a proper rest over the summer – seemed to include him in his six nations squad straight away- will read more into the situation if he is not included in the autumn internationals

      2. Bennett didn’t look anywhere near his old self for Edinburgh and without a burst of pace I don’t think he’s an international player.

  10. Shame to see Bennett and Weir missing out. Scott Lawson too is a better option at hooker than turner.

    The players being rested certainly need a recharge and looking at the bigger picture it’s best to blood the inexperienced players and let them see what they can. The tour will certainly help to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    1. This tour is about building depth for the future. A fringe 36yr old shouldn’t be near the squad now that turner is fit.

  11. Harris has been unlucky in the sense he’s played in 2 rubbish Scotland performances (Samoa & Wales) & as The Chiel says been excellent for high flying Falcons this season, plus he adds a bit of beef to the backs. Bennett was a great player but hasn’t looked anything like that player. Big chance for Lang, 10 jersey is there for the taking on this tour.

    1. Bennett had a serious injury and is just finding his way back. He’s twice the player Harris is.

  12. Hate seeing players written off after 1 bad performance. McGuigan has had an incredible season this season scoring 12 tries in 16 appearances for Sale and Harris has been just as good for Newcastle.

    Not saying they will excel at International level rugby, international rugby is completely different level to club rugby, but to right off every player after 1 bad game is just ridiculous.

    Good international players such as Seymour, Russell and Price were just as bad that day. Even Watson, Barclay and McInally were pretty ordinary that day. Never right someone off after 1 bad day

  13. Regarding suggestion of Lawson at hooker, I think his age is counting against him. He’s what? 36? Turner may not quite have the technique, but he’s 25 and we’re blooding for the World Cup not a farewell tour!

    Excited to see Lang :) I’m not fussed about Harris, Mcguigan, Hamilton et al joining the tour. Isn’t it always the way with new coaches that some who have excelled in the past (i.e. Strauss) get left out for new favourites and combinations? This is the perfect tour for experimenting and seeing the new talent. We know what the ‘old’ talent can do, but we’ve never properly seen those with 5 or fewer caps perform at International level. They need time too!

    1. Agree 100%

      This is a tour for playing those players who wouldn’t get near the team in a tournament game because it would be too much of a risk.

      Hogg and Dunbar should have been rested.

      Bennet & Scott should have gone to get them back in the way of how Scotland now play.

      1. Did not Bennet & Strauss leave Glasgow at end of Townsend’s reign? Maybe this is a continuation of something from Glasgow days?

    2. “Hogg and Dunbar should have been rested.”

      Hogg hasn’t played a huge amount of rugby this season and he’s been low key by his own standards when he has.

      Dunbar also hasn’t played a great deal. I’m sure the SRU have plans on how to manage the players right up until Japan.

  14. Very good to see a couple of young and promising tens in the squad in Lang and Hastings. I would give them both as much gametime at 10 as possible and have Horne at 12 to give them the best chance to succeed and bed in as that depth at 10 would be invaluable. Good squad.

    1. Without being too cynical ( ahem ! ), I’d certainly get Lang on the pitch for a while to get him tied.

  15. Harris has a good reputation as a defender. I hope he blends in, not sure he will fit TBH. Jacko is underated and deserves this swansong.

    Visser was never coming back after his AI omission and he was right to kill off the humiliation by a retiral. However he is no longer the future, time moves on.

    Most fans, recognise he was cut off early , rightly or wrongly , I say wrongly , the man had style , he was a cut above , his defence was adequate and he offered more than the inexperienced emergents we played in the 6N. I do not think his face fitted, he will not be the first or the last in this set up.

    However looking forward, this squad has lots to be positive about and it is a great opportunity to develop players.

    I see McInally emerging as an inspriational leader and luke Hamilton coming through strongly.

  16. Tentatively pleased with the selection. This kind of tour is supposed to be for trying new guys and I’m pleased to see that and some of the usual suspects getting a rest. I’m guessing they are in there for experience but I would have left Hoggy and Dunbar at home too. Hoggy hasn’t been in the finest of form recently and Dunbar is always injured so a good bit of R&R might have been good for them? I will add to the general chorus of Bennett should have gone. Other than the back row I’m not that concerned, the young team will get a good crack at half back, Chris Harris can hopefully redeem himself and I hope King Blairhorn gets a good run at 15. Back row will be interesting though, maybe that’s the reason Dunbar and McInally are going?

  17. Interesting, thought Lang was brought in as an extra fly half but Toony is on record saying they see him primarily as a 12. We’re not exactly stuck for centres but an extra option at 10 wouldn’t have gone amiss.

    1. I really don’t get this, we’ve got Dunbar, Scott, Horne, Taylor, Grigg and soon Johnson who have played 12 (I’m ignoring Jones because it didn’t exactly go well…), so why is Toonie looking for another 12? What could they possibly offer that those listed don’t? Whereas 10 is insanely shallow, depth-wise.

      1. Agree that Horne, Dunbar and Johnson seem best at twelve but would argue that Grigg, Taylor and even Scott have had more success playing at 13 (where of course we also have Jones, Bennett, Harris, Johnstone).

        I know very little about Lang but if he is a 10/12 type player then it would be good to build depth if we want to continue with the successful trial that was Pete Horne as a second distributer/second 5/8th type player sitting outside Russell.

      2. Makes sense, as he’s building for the future. Taylor & Dunbar are both 28 and injury prone, Grigg is not a starter and Johnson is not yet qualified. For the next WC cycle:

        9- Price/ Horne
        10 – Russell/Hastings
        12 – [Lang/Johnson/Redpath]
        13 – Jones/Bennett
        15 – Hogg/Kinghorn
        It looks like there might be trouble on the wings too, other than Kinghorn filling in, who else is there? Graham/DVDM

        Shame Bennett not on this tour but he has plenty of time for this and next WC.

  18. For me the message too our scouting team is ‘could do better’. One of the excitements of a Summer tour selection is to see who the scouts have russtled up from across the world in time for the world cup. 2 cycles ago it was Maitland, last cycle Hardie both Super rugby high achievers – so while it is great to get Lang on board I was rather hoping for another bolter from NZ. I was also kind of hoping that the tug of loves over Redpath, Graham, Vellacott and Mercer might come.our way when they realised that Jones was just involving them to warn Scotland off …apart from that squad looks good and getting Hogg to play now as senior player after a start stop season makes sense

    1. Hogg, I fear otherwise, he is showing his frailties I agree, but the whole point is that if you play him, the rest of the team need to compensate and it is about seeing who can blend with him. If our future is around an unmovable lighthouse at Full Back, we need players who can fit round that. Strong personalities need not apply.

      1. Stu2 yes he is, on residency having attended Merchiston, and has represented Scotland at U16 level. There’s just no indication he has any desire to play for Scotland. Straws clutched and all that.

    2. I reckon we could see Blade Thomson at some point before the world cup in that mould of unheard of bolters. Hes a Maori and NZ U20 cap, but elligible for Scotland via family ties of some kind. Hes a huge bloke, lock, 6 or 8. Probably best as an 8. Very quick for his size and lovely hands too. The really good news is hes Scarlets bound so we’ll be able to valuate him close-up

  19. It’s a decent squad. The senior players that need a rest have been rested, those that have spent time out injured (Hogg, Dunbar, Gray) are touring, and the likes of G.Horne, M.Fagerson, Ritchie and Hastings are seen as the future and it’ll be interesting to see how they tour.

    A couple of points on “strange” selections; I can’t understand why Swinson (who is 31 and not really in contention for the World Cup) would be chosen over Cummings. I also struggle to see what Chris Harris offers that any one of Matt Scott, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Mark Bennett or even Stafford McDowell would offer more of.

    I also can’t see what people see in Byron McGuigan. For me he’s a less talented Tim Visser – decent poacher but lacking in most other aspects of being a winger.

    1. Is it possible that Cummins needs to spend the summer bulking up?

      He’s too light for a lock.

  20. Nice squad and exactly the type I was hoping would be picked (senior players rested and a mixture of those returning from injury, peripheral squad players and prospects selected). A few observations:

    – We seem to have uncovered an alarming lack of depth on the wing. Neither of McGuigan or Jones are young and while Kinghorn/Taylor/Harris will provide cover, none play there at all for their clubs and will be found out against the best teams. With the Van Der Merwe’s likely taking up a wing spot each at Edinburgh and Glasgow next season, don’t see many more being developed soon. Assume Fife will be with the 7’s but would’ve been good to see him tour, Graham is obviously way too raw and does anyone know what’s happened to Hoyland?

    – Echo some of the confusion around the inclusion of Harris. He’s been solid for Newcastle this season but is there primarily for his defence and acts mainly as a link between Socino and Sinotti/Goneva not really making any breaks himself. Hardly a like for like replacement with Bennett/Jones at 13. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for his last two Scotland performances but if he doesn’t perform on this tour it must be over for him – we have too many good options at centre.

    – Would have been good to get a look at Cummings pre-WC as well. Been excellent for Glasgow this season.

    – What a great end to a fantastic season for Stuart McInally and George Horne. The former 3rd choice hooker at the start of the season and now Edinburgh player of the season, Edinburgh captain and Scotland captain. The latter Glasgow player of the season and earning his second Scotland squad call up in his first season as a professional.

      1. Maybe, he has played a lot this season.

        Just thought that with Maitland and Seymour rested, this tour would be the perfect opportunity to give him another chance for Scotland before the WC, and given his previous involvement with 7s, seemed the most likely.

        Hope he does get another chance, he’s improved a lot this year for Edinburgh

      2. Suspect he may be involved with the 7s WC, as he is the obvious player to add depth to the back three in this squad. He’s been terrific for Edinburgh in the last few months, and clearly has developed in his time with the 7s.

  21. Falcons v wasps at the weekend … Harris was pretty Good, granted the wasps midfield defence isn’t 100% solid but they don’t lack pace… Harris split them with pace and he’s been good most of the season . Just a bit shown up against Wales but let’s be honest…whole team was

  22. What happened to Robbie Nairn? He was doing okay and just seems to have vanished completely.

    1. I’ve wondered about Nairn, too. Given Glasgow’s injury problems in the wings earlier in the season, I thought he might feature more than he has. Can’t speak to his tackling. Or is he another one who picked up a long term injury?

      1. He’s no defence and doesn’t look too interested in any of that physical stuff that generally happens on a rugby field.

  23. I’ve commented before that it has to be a lag effect of our being not very good for about 15 years that we have USA and Canada on the itinerary while other NH sides have got some really tasty tours coming up this summer. Argentina’s ok though as they’re always a tough side to play away. Still, it does mean some relatively risk-free room for experimentation as the author says.

    My first thought on Hogg was wondering why he was not being rested, then as others have pointed out I remembered he missed a lot of game time early and mid season.

    Disappointed about Bennett missing out. Not arguing with the non-selection, just disappointed. He’s shown some flashes of the pre-injury Bennett for Edinburgh but clearly not enough of them in the selectors’ opinion to justify a tour.

    Presumably we’ll have to scratch around looking for net streams and obscure channels to watch the three Tests while Sky/BT deliver full,live, fawning coverage of our ‘superiors’’ matches. I’m not bitter!

    1. Love the comment on the tv coverage ?

      I seem to remember that at the end of 2010ish NZ came out with tours for the next 10 years or so and Scotland didn’t get a look in. Hopefully when tours for the next few years start to get planned our recent results will put us in line for tours to the big 3.

  24. Cameron Redpath called up to England squad. Very disappointing that Toonie/Redpath seniors efforts have been in vain.

    1. Although seeing as Gary Graham isn’t included seems his England career is over before its begun.

      1. Why should we pick Graham? There was a reason he was left to go to England, he isn’t any better than the backrowers we have.

    2. Cynical move from Eddie Jones, Cameron isn’t at the level of a international Fly Half yet and Jones has 3 tens already in the squad with Farrell, Ford and Cipriani. It’s all mind games.

      1. The question is whether he is capped or not whilst on tour really. Jones isn’t going to be taking him to the World Cup but 10 minutes on the pitch will prevent us doing so as we’re clearly desperate for another 10.

      2. All this fighting for players is very unsavoury. Regarding Redpath if he’s ready to step up and be an England regular then fair enough call him up. But he clearly isn’t so I really hope he does not end up with a solitary cap and no international career for anyone. Would be nice to see some of these lads give England the same message they give us if they aren’t ready to choose. Fair play though if Redpath understands the risks and is backing himself

    3. Shame but I guess he must have moved south with his dad when he was quite young and now feels English.

      It’s an interesting call for a player. If you get capped for England the financial rewards will be greater than for Scotland (club and international income) but there is a smaller playing pool and therefore more chance of more caps playing for Scotland. Depends whether he wants to maximise earnings or caps (or he feels confident to be the England no1 player for a long time to come).

      But we have better supporters.

      1. Apparently young Redpath was born in France! Rob Robertson on Twitter said England caps work out about £22K which is a lot more than Scots players are paid. Money aside my worry is that he gets overtaken by the likes of Marcus Smith in the pecking order having been tied early on. Word I’ve heard though is that he is quite the prospect, so more Owen Farrell than Tommy Allan… and yes, judging by his Twitter profile pic he’s happy to play for England and if that’s what he feels I’d far rather have players committed to the cause, born here or not.

      2. yup, born in France, moved to England – never lived here – so in reality, if he played for Scotland, it’s probably us that should be accused of ‘poaching’.

      3. It is gutting for Scotland to lose a player of his potential calibre but he’s dual qualified so we’ve just got to suck it up and move on. Can’t actually see the RFU has done anything wrong – he’s been courted by the RFU/SRU, even his Dad has tried to influence his choice by all accounts. This type of competition for players comes with professionalism. If he has more affinity for England it’s his own choice, if it is down to money and potential to win trophies then that is a shame but he’s come through the Engkand school system to it is not poaching in any respect.

        It is true that opting for England is a riskier proposition given the competition, but I don’t for a minute believe he isn’t aware of the number of rivals he’ll have for an England shirt. This is the game now, we better get used to it.

  25. All the best to Cameron. He’s made his decision and people need to respect that. I just hope there has been no pressure put on him from coaches etc and it’s his wish.

  26. Redpath is being used and it’s sad he’s not listening to people who hopefully are pointing this out.

    Jones’s mind matches his stature and he really doesn’t care that he will potentially ruin a young players career.

    Redpath might go on and have a great career with England – who knows, but maybe he should look at Scott Wilson to see what will probably happen to him.

  27. Totally agree with the comments Redpath being used as a pawn in the game just as Graham and Vellacott were before.. I just can’t believe Bryan hasn’t managed to convince him to play for Scotland – a lifetime of love rather than one chance and one replacement cap for England – just look at Piers Francis this time last year …the fact that there was an article about Bryan’s hopes Cameron would play for Scotland yesterday also now looks like a placed article from a communications agency … Gutted we have lost a star here and chief scout needs massive kick up the backside or an increase in their budget!

    1. He’s not a star – it looks like he has potential. And he is entitled to his choice as long as he is informed of the consequences. He will be far better paid and be far more attractive to AP clubs hanging his hat on the English peg, however shoogly. How can you attack someone looking after number one ?

      I’d love to know how many of those getting hissy about this have even seen him play.

      1. I don’t think most of us have an issue with him choosing England. Rather England calling him up now when he is 18 and has barely played a pro game smacks of locking him in just to deny us the opportunity to call him up in the future. I feel everyone would be better off including Redpath by leaving him to develop his game and seeing how good he becomes before he is capped and comitted to either nation for the rest of his career. I don’t actually think EJ will cap him on this tour but if he does and Redpath goes on to become a good but not great player then he’d probably have a very limited career with England whereas being honest he’d have been able to earn many more caps for Scotland due to less competition. Is it fair for an 18 year old lad who has barely begun his career to have to make his choice now?

  28. This whole game of locking players in is even worse than the whole thing project player thing. WR should review this while they are at it.

    I think the lock in rules are too strict, which forces the gaming of the system. There should be a young player transfer clause…for example:

    Players under 25 can transfer so long as:

    Less than 6 caps have been won
    More than 2 years lay-off period is observed since last cap
    Eligibility for “new” nation earned prior to 1st cap for “old” nation

    This would force teams to play young players, once capped, or risk losing them. It would give young players more time to develop, and in a better position to negotiate, before “choosing” a national team with all the associated consequences.

    Ultimately I think we’d see better teams on the field…with fewer one match wonders.

    1. While I agree it’s annoying for us fans/SRU to potentially lose out on a player, I think opening up the rules to allow transferring players would be a huge mistake – I think World Rugby’s tightening of the project player rules is a step in the right direction, and having football-style international windows, allowing Pacific Islanders/South African able to earn a living playing in the NH without having to turn their back on their countries and/or become a project player must surely be the end goal.

      I have no issue with searching a player’s family tree to find a Scottish granny, but, that player should then make a decision whether they want to play for Scotland or whoever else they are qualified for.

      We’re not talking about players playing for age-group teams here, they are fully-grown adults and should be able to understand the consequences of their actions, in the same way everyone posting on here does. Want to try your luck with England? Sure, if you succeed you’ll have a greater chance of winning medals, earn more money from internationals and more money from your club. Fail, you’ll still be more attractive to your club as English-qualified and probably earn more money. But if you ‘feel’ Scottish, then tell Eddie to stick it up his **** and wait for Toony’s call!

  29. As a Scot living in England with a son born and raised here I completely get why Redpath feels English and wants to play for England. The issue is whether he would have been selected for this tour if it wasn’t known that Scotland were interested in capping him in the future and I can’t see any convincing argument that he would have been. I don’t think he’s played a single minute of Premiership rugby at Sale where Luke James (19 and English) has been picked ahead of him at 12. It can’t possibly be justified on him being ready to play test rugby for England when Sale don’t think he’s ready for the Premiership. Taking him for the experience and development doesn’t stack up either as there are far more obvious candidates like Smith from Harlequins, Malins from Saracens etc. So the only reason he’s going is some kind of message to Scotland and playing games with players like that is indefensible. I realise we have to compete for dual qualified guys but think we have to draw the line somewhere and I’d rather that we carry on as Townsend as done here rather than get drawn into playing stupid mind games.

  30. It is galling to lose out on a dual qualified player with lots of potential to our auld enemy, particularly as his dad played for us, but I wish him all the best.

    That said, I do think this whole episode is more about Eddie Jones and the RFU trying to deny us the opportunity to expand our options in the longer term, rather that what is best for Cameron Redpath, and that is inexcusable.

  31. Anyone know the latest on John Hardie? Injured, I understand, and released by Edinburgh after ban. Is GT going to pick him again? Have bridges been burnt on both sides? Would be very surprised if he doesn’t get another top club outside Scotland, though will he still want to play in blue? Really concerned as the battle with Watson is really fascinating, and both of them are the best Scotland 7s in years.

    1. Happy to be proved wrong, but I seriously doubt that we’ll see him in a Scotland jersey again.

  32. Russia in Scotland’s group – pretty good outcome for us as it’ll be our seconds playing them 4 days before Japan in the final round. Should be relatively routine win.

    Unfortunately, as Germany is progressing to the play off it virtually guarantees that Samoa will be in our group. Last two times we’ve played them we have leaked tries like a sieve and barely scraped wins. Expect they’ll get another influx of Super players to replace their retiring stars.

    1. Russia are an improving side but lack a ‘cornerstone’ aspect to their play. Romania and Georgia built their success on their scrums and forward power. Russia are more rounded but also weaker and I’d expect us to hump them.

    2. You have to wonder how European Rugby got itself into such a shambles. Players don’t get many opportunities to play at a World Cup so to be denied by incompetence by European Rugby or their own Unions is terrible.

  33. Semi-rumour/news coming out today that BBC Scotland will cover USA and Canada games while Channel 4 set to cover Argentina test. All 3 summer tour games free to air would be huge. Official announcement to follow apparently…

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