Scotland call up Skinner, Thomson and Johnson

It sounds a bit like a firm of solicitors, but the trio of two Sams Skinner and Johnson alongside the widely forecast inclusion of Blade Thomson will be the story of this latest edition of the Toony Tombola. They are the only uncapped players in the squad following a summer tour in which Townsend tried out a lot of younger talents.

We did think Townsend might call up an Exeter Chiefs lock but the utility second/back row Sam Skinner (23) wasn’t the name on everyone’s tongue; his father is from Ayr. Ollie Atkins also qualifies, but Skinner started Exeter’s European game against Munster while Atkins was on the bench. An easy choice to make?

Blade Thomson is in prime form for Scarlets and if he can overcome the injuries that stopped him following an initially impressive trajectory in New Zealand he could be just the sort of player Scotland has been crying out for at the back of the scrum.

The call up for Sam Johnson (25), the classy Warriors centre who recently qualified on residency, means no place for Nick Grigg this time around. Johnson has been out injured for a while but Dave Rennie said this week he is back in consideration for selection.

A big group of players who were rested in the summer also come back in: Alex Dunbar, Jonny Gray, Huw Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Maitland, Willem Nel, Gordon Reid, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour, Ryan Wilson and Hamish Watson. Oh, and 110-cap Ross Ford is back. Will he add to them?

Making a mockery of our predictions earlier in the week, he’s opted for four scrum-halves, thereby side-stepping the issue of what to do with Henry Pyrgos. It’s a big group – 40 strong – which will need some chopping down before Japan, but there are also a host of top line stars out injured who will come back into consideration: Stuart Hogg, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray and John Barclay chief among them. If Thomson does become indispensable at Number 8 then it’ll make competition for that 6 shirt even trickier…

The missing names do however highlight a lack of experience in a lot of areas – Laidlaw and Ford are the only players on 50+ caps.

At least with Glasgow you knew who Townsend was picking his tombola from, this is a lot more fun!

Here’s a possible Scotland team (not taking into account Wales availability issues): Kinghorn, Seymour, Jones, Dunbar, Maitland, Russell, Laidlaw; Dell, McInally (capt), Nel, J Gray, Toolis, Bradbury, Watson, Thomson.
Replacements: Brown, Allan, Berghan, Gilchrist, Wilson, G Horne, Hastings, Fife.


Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 10 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 13 caps
David Denton (Leicester Tigers) – 42 caps
Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
Ross Ford (Edinburgh) – 110 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 43 caps
Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
Murray McCallum (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 32 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 2 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – uncapped
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – uncapped
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps

BACKS (18)

Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Dougie Fife (Edinburgh) – 8 caps
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 4 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 5 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 63 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 34 caps
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 5 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 37 caps
Matt Scott (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 43 caps

Not considered through injury: John Barclay, Mark Bennett, Lewis Carmichael (all Edinburgh), Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens).

Darcy Graham and Luke Crosbie have also been invited to train with the squad.

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90 comments on “Scotland call up Skinner, Thomson and Johnson

  1. Rj on

    Decent squad. Didn’t see Sam Skinners name mentioned much anywhere, played u-20s with England. Looks to have some size about him and versatile in terms of position which will be useful with the injuries at lock in particular. Glad to see Thomson in there.

  2. Blake Westwood on

    Only Denton, Harris, Maitland, McGuigan, Blade Thompson, Reid, Laidlaw, Russell and Skinner will miss the 1st game against Wales so we will still be pretty strong outfit for the Wales game.

  3. Stu2 on

    Toonie shows wee man Jones how to do it properly.

    It’s a 40 man squad because of the daft match against Wales and only home based players will be eligible.

    Oh and Skinner isn’t a poach if his dad is from Ayr.

    Up yours Eddie.

    • Blake Westwood on

      I for one am looking forward to the Wales fixture, can’t understand what some peoples problem is with it.

      • Stu on

        It’s a pointless fixture in an already crowded fixture list – money grubbing execs devaluing the 6N game later on in the season.

        The great thing about the 6Ns is we only play each other once a year.

      • FF on

        Agree with Stu. A third AI is also a huge burden on the pro-teams resources and players. Three hard tests in a row is enough – I hope the Wales test is treated as a trial and Toonie picks an experimental team. Fiji will be huge and not an opportunity to ease into the series.

      • MK on

        “Money Grabbing”, I’d suggest that the exes would openly admit that. Finances have stabilised within the WRU amd SRU but they’re still treading water in the professional game. Are they profiteering from the players welfare? Possibly. But its a rock and a hard place for the suits. Plus isnt the welsh game connected to Doddie Weirs Foundation with some of the profits going towards that?

      • Stu2 on

        Exactly Rory – I dont like the way the WRU have not corrected press reports this is for Doddie.

        This is a pointless game – in a crowded season only needed by the accountants.

    • FF on

      Skinner was part of the Scottish exiles programme before he played for England u20s.

      Would still like to steal back Vellacott (unlikely) and Redpath (very unlikely). Maybe another 6N collapse and world cup flop will do it…

      • thebigiam on

        I kinda take your point Stu, but I’m going to the Wales game, and I’m looking forward to it. I hope that it helps raise awareness for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, so it feels less grubby than some of the other extra games played by a few other 6N sides. Being devil’s advocate, do you also think that the pre-world cup warm ups against France devalue the 6N?

      • Stu2 on

        If this was really about Doddie it would be getting played at Murrayfield.

        The world cup warm ups are different, they have a genuine purpose.

      • JP07 on

        The Graham boys are still yet to be capped and I for one do not care that we are not their first choice. Professional players do a professional job.

    • FF on

      He’s been injured all season. Presumably back in training. Don’t see him getting a look in when all our centres are fit but as that is never going to happen he’s probably got an outside shot of going to the RWC.

      • Not rocket science on

        Sam Johnson is a very handy player. Great to see him in the team! Could easily see him starting world cup games; alongside Jones who he hasn’t played much with. Glasgow’s Player’s Player of the Season 2017/18. Didn’t realise he qualified so soon.

  4. Busy Little Bee on

    Johnson has been injured but is a classier player than Grigg, who doesn’t look good enough for test level.

    Where is that blonde haired lump in Edinburgh’s back row? People were raving about him 11 months ago.

    • Stu on


      A mythical 15mins v NZ was turned into him being the second coming of Iain Paxton.

      He’s a decent club pro, handy player for Embra to have in their squad when their first choices are being rested or on int duty.

      Not a test player IMO.

      • Busy Little Bee on

        That’s the one.

        And to think some including Tom English were saying he’s ahead of Hardie in the pecking order. Always looked a limited lump to me.

        And on Hardie, is he finished?

      • Stu2 on

        Hardie is finished in Europe I think – his alleged dabbling with substances has club lawyers running for the hills.

        Shame as he was very good in the RWC – but if we are all honest, he did little after that – I know injuries played their part but we never really saw the best of him.

        Toonie certainly moved on from him, time for us to forget about him being in a Scotland jersey again.

  5. Ben F on

    No Hardie , but Gordon Reid gets a shot. This loose head berth is going to be unpredicatble. Reid is probably cover , on form , he is reliable and can steady the scrum , proved it last season. But not in a Premiership side- someone give him a better club. Blade Thomson , now I know we have Denton lovers out there, but take a look at this machine , bit old but all gold.

      • Ben F on

        Old for a first cap . Bradbury capped at 22, Fagerson capped at 20 , when Blade was 20, Fagerson was starting High School. Barclay first cap age 21 though was training with senior Scottish squad at 17. Comment substantiated.

    • JP07 on

      You didnt say he was old for a first cap just that he was a bit old. The age at which other players are capped does not have any bearing. Read up on your logical fallacies.

  6. Ross on

    A strong squad imo. I like it. Few interesting points:

    Jackson a surprise omission with Hogg out. Not a problem because loads of people can play FB – Kinghorn, Maitland, Seymour, Huw, Hastings, Fife. Interested to see what Toonie’s hierarchy will be and if there’s any truth in the chat they he might continue Kinghorn on the wing and stick Maitland at 15. Presume Tonks is now fully out of the picture despite his cameo against Aus last summer.

    Weir a harsh omission. Strauss clearly still in the wilderness. CdP featuring on the injury list suggests that he’s still higher in the pecking order than Strauss, Hamilton and Ashe (who has been going well).

    Championship Reid preferred to Sutherland and Marfo. Think that’s fair enough based on what he has in the bank, but could see that change over the next 12 months. Sutherland not standout but Marfo was very briefly. What’s going on with him anyway!?

    Presume Lang failed his summer audition?

    • Ben F on

      You cannot get enough props and hookers. You must have 6 in a 23 man squad and ours seem to get injured more than any other nation. We have not been let down yet. Long may the front row factory keep proping them out.

  7. Ross on

    If Hardie gets a club and rediscovers some form he could be back in the mix by WC. Would most likely take a couple of injuries though.

    Who joins Barclay, Watson and Wilson at WC is anyone’s guess out of:
    Fagerson, Harley, Ritchie, Bradbury, Ashe, Strauss, CdP, Denton, Hardie, Thomson, Hamilton & Crosbie.

    Gilchrist, Swinson, Brown, McInally and Turner all also cover the back row.

    • Clarkie on

      Would love to see Ashe and Matt Fagerson pushing each other for the Glasgow no. 8 spot and ultimately Scotland. Fagerson is naturally on the rise and improving whereas Ashe has started the season well and was unlucky not to play against Sarries. Hope Ashe can stay fit long enough to challenge for the 6N but Blade has looked sharp (!) so far this season and could be great come WC time

  8. Stu2 on

    Not sure why CDP is mentioned in the injury list – his weak effort in the 6Ns put paid to him playing for Scotland again. Strauss is no more in Toonies eyes IMO – it’s not just Fiji game in 2017 – he’s not a test backrower.

    I wouldn’t bank of Barclay making the RWC – achilles tears at his age rarely end well.

    There are a whole host of young players waiting in the wings – they just need a wee bit more time. I thought Fagerson was great against Sarries, but not got the bulk we need at 8 – I would love to see Ashe make it, but he just doesn’t seem to have kicked on after the injuries.

    Far too many good players for us to bother with CDP and Strauss IMO.

    • Ross on

      Agreed on Barclay, just saying those three are probably the only three nailed on for the squad if fit.

      Also agree we’re unlikey to see CdP, Strauss and Hardie in Scotland colours again, but really my point is that we could see almost any combination of those players in the squad depending on circumstance and who puts their hand up.

      • JohnMc on

        Yes, that was an epic shift that day in Stade de France from Strauss.
        This is a decent looking squad, which we need as it’s a tough Autumn programme for us.
        I’m aware of all the background noise around the Wales match, but it won’t stop me looking forward to my first ever visit to the Principality Stadium in a couple of weeks to support our Test side.

      • Alex on

        Totally agree – I was reading some of the comments and remembering that match, wondering if I’d got the wrong player!

    • stevomc on

      Both of these guys have put in their all for the Scottish game – including gathering significant injuries on behalf of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland. They shouldn’t be counted out or discarded.

  9. Neil on

    Could make a decent squad out of players not selected through form/Injury or exiled “retirement”.

    1. Sutherland
    2. Malcolm
    3. Fagerson
    4. Gray
    5. Carmichael
    6. Barclay
    7. Hardie
    8. Strauss
    9. SHC
    10. Weir
    11. Visser
    12. Taylor
    13. Bennett
    14. Graham
    15. Hogg

    16. Stewart
    17. Marfo/Bhatti
    18. Welsh
    19. Swinson
    20. Hamilton
    21. Kennedy
    22. Lang
    23. Hughes

    Admittedly depth is weak at 5th/6th choice hooker but thats high quality Props/locks/Backrow and that whole backline could be electric.

    Im sure there are a bunch of players i have forgotten also that could of been considered.

    Where has all this depth come from ?

  10. Tonnies's Advisor on

    Where is Jamie Bhatti? is he injured or not considered? I always thought he made a difference when he came off the bench, I was also vocal on him replacing Reid as the 1st choice during the 6N. Shame if he is lost to the wilderness like Marfo.

    Chris Dean, for me he is player who hits the nest lines of all the centres (exception of Huw), he has been playing really well this season and deserved a spot ahead of Johnson who only qualifies on residency.

    Rory Hughes: The next Sean Lamont. always always gives 110% every time he puts on a rugby jersey. Maybe not for the squad certainly can be talked about in the same conversation as Dougie Fife and Lee Jones.

    Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is better than Pyrgos. If SHC was playing against Montpellior at the weekend he would have finished that try before McInally got near him. Pyrgos just lacks pace with every aspect of his game.

    • Stu2 on

      Lee Jones and Fife are rugby players – Hughes is a bear with a very small brain on him.

      Agree about Dean and SHC.

  11. Referendum on

    4 hookers and four scrum halves. Not sure Scotland have ever had that in a squad before.

    I like the extra test. Too long have other countries got more international rugby fixtures gained more experience. I think it’s only good for exposure.

    • JP on

      The last thing players need is an other test in the calendar. The rate of attrition is too high as it is and with a small pool of players we need to look after them. Plus both clubs are in the top tier of Europe so players are getting more exposure to elite rugby than previously anyway. I can guarantee both clubs played games this weekend that will be closer to competitive test level than this Mickey Mouse Wales test will be.

      • Frozen North on

        The team need to show themselves that they have the courage and self belief to overcome vast hostile crowds. I dont believe this is fundamentally about winning the game but merely turning up and showing a close contest under these unsavoury conditions. I think this could be a pivotal fixture for Scottish Rugby.

  12. Fraser on

    How is Chris Harris still getting in the squad?
    Surprised Lang misses out and don’t really see the point in taking Pyrgos.

    • JP on

      Because he is consistently excellent at club level and starting there. He is quick and solid in defence. Another bowler of a test and it could be his last but he is a good young player.

  13. JP07 on

    No Grigg? 4 hookers? Sam Skinner and The Blade (lets just coin it now) are genuinely excellent additions who offer more than most in their positions with the exception of our top players (Gray, Barclay, Watson). Thompson could be our 8 for the next few seasons. Disappointed Atkins didnt make it. Cant help but think starting for Glasgow would have been better for Turner than benching for Scotland (if that) and I think SHC would benefit more from the AI’s than Pyrgos but perhaps this tells us that he is just not on Toonies radar. Hers hoping all of our injuries are able to get back fit and firing for end of season to keep them fresh for RWC. FYI Finn played like a proper 10 this week. I know its early for him but Graham has more potential than Fife.

  14. JP07 on

    I for one am always cynical about our squads and selections. A lifetime of us being p*sh has probably had something to do with that. This squad though I am mega excited about, even with the big name injuries we have (which I still think is a blessing in disguise both from an opportunity perspective and an RWC freshness perspective) is oozing with class and potential. It may be light on caps and some forwards will need to step up and lead as will Dunbar (especially if Greig isnt about for any reason) but there are exciting additions, a very strong front row unit, electric backs, we just need a plan B for when hare em scare em isnt working and we could get 4 from 4.

    • JohnMc on

      The plus or minus 50 caps as a measure of experience/inexperience is not that relevant a factor for us these days imho. We’ve got guys with significantly fewer than 50 caps who are fully battle-hardened members of a side that’s climbed out of the 00s and early 10s doldrums. Not so long ago, we were fielding 50 plus cap players that had earned them pretty much because there was no one else available to select. The number of sub-50 caps players is for me a decent indicator of growing strength and depth at Test level.

      • FF on

        Hmm don’t really buy this argument. No doubt the quality of this squad is far higher than in the past, but nevertheless our two most traumatic defeats in the recent past – in twickenham and Cardiff, where we were utterly humiliated – we looked totally overawed by both occasions and the expectation we were suddenly shouldering. I do think a lack of experience was crucial in explaining why I’m both games our resolve and focus really disintegrated for large chunks of both games.

        Nevertheless you’ve got to back talent and we can only build experience in the squad by picking players with the desire and ability to nail down their place for years to come.

      • Not rocket science on

        Yeah, but you’ve got to think the established spine of Nel/Berghan, McInally/Brown, Gray, Laidlaw/Price, Watson, Wilson, Russell, Dunbar/Taylor, Jones, Seymour, Maitland, Hogg (who’ll be in camp), as well as the blade, are all matured, since even Wales. Not forgetting that some of them missed those matches and they subsequently avenged the England defeat (am looking forward to seeing how they stand up at the Principality). With the new generation coming through, a few moves abroad (including the blade), they have to be.

        The point is there are high cap players in the starters, and youth on the fringes. As there should be. Rather than a million caps for Sean Lamont, Chris Patterson, Mike Blair Ross Ford and Dan Parks. Which never worked out that successfully.

        Three years ago a much younger group did alright at the world cup.

        On a different note, I bet if we looked at top try scorers for Scotland, or better yet tries to caps ratio of players like Hogg, Seymour, Jones, Kinghorn, it would make this team a more dangerous proposition than anything of the last twenty years. Alan?

      • FF on

        Most of these established players really don’t have many caps in the grand scheme of things. Experience obviously isn’t the be-all and end-all, and is less important than talent, but it is important. You certainly need guys who have been there and done it, for the younger players to look to when we need to steady the ship, and who won’t panic when things are going wrong.

        It’s one of the reasons Laidlaw is such an important influence on the team, Hogg too. I’m not saying we don’t have leaders but we have markedly fewer caps than Wales or Ireland for example, and I do think those teams seem more at ease with themselves on the test stage and able to respond well to pressure.

        We’re improving though and the strength of this squad looks another step forward. In Japan at least we’ll have a group of players who’ve been to a World Cup and given a good account of themselves. We have a bastard of a group and need to handle the pressure which will be huge when it most likely all comes down to the Japan game in front of a fanatical 70,000 home support.

      • Csc on

        In the past the same group of multi capped players turned out repeatedly, but didn’t seem to perform any better for the experience. At least now the depth is such that nobody owns the shirt.

  15. Sotonsaltire on

    There is a good post on 1014 about this issue under the banner of how many caps win you a World Cup. The end up with a magic number of 850 caps for your starting 15, or alternatively an average of 80 odd percent per player of games played between World Cup cycles (not sure how this deals with injuries).

    So, either way a settled team is key- Ireland and New Zealand spring to mind.

    I will leave it to others to come up with a team that gets close (and is sensible)to the magic 850 cap mark. Clearly this measure does suggest Hogg, Laidlaw, Barclay, Grays are important for the World Cup.

    Good analysis of caps per unit on 1014 too. These figures are skewed though – ie average caps in NZ back row in 2015 99…..

    After Wales I think the time for experiment is over and from Fiji to Ireland in Yokohama we play as close to a full strength 23 as possible.

    • Alanyst on

      I dont think individual caps matter very much….the most important thing is the “cohort effect” of a group of players who have collectively come through things and grown together.

      From 2015 to now there is a sense of this I think, with a core group in the 30 to 50 cap range.

    • Rory Baldwin on

      With the ABs you also have a baseline of quality/skill to consider those cap numbers on top of, something not consistently present across recent Scotland teams.

    • Merlot on

      I’m a firm believer that experience counts for a lot more than people give credit for, and the best way of measuring that is the number of caps. The fact is that too many of our players are inexperienced when it comes to test rugby and that does seem to matter when it comes to the world cup. The average number of caps is just 21 which is less than half the number of a winning RWC squad average.
      However, with the AIs, 6N and RWC warm-up matches this average will obviously go up (for someone like Kinghorn, who may play every game, from 5 caps to nearly 20). Also many of the injured players are senior players and will (hopefully) go to Japan – Hogg, Gray, Barclay. This will also help the experience pool. Lastly, many of this squad will not get to Japan, not least because we can only take 31. I would expect many of the less experienced to miss out, and therefore the average number of caps to be closer to 40 than 30.

  16. 1.8T on

    I’m not against the Wales “Doddie game” I just think it’s silly to have it in Cardiff this year. Why have it the same venue as that years 6N game? Surely it would be better to have it at at the one that doesn’t have the 6N match? Perhaps the cup could be over the two legs, with a home and away match each year?

    Can’t say I know too much about the debutants, I wish them all the best and hope they get a chance. I hear Denton has been playing quite well.

    We must beat Fiji and Argentina. Our performances against Pacific Islanders has been a bit ropey recently, without having the stats in front of me I seem to recall defeats or very scruffy wins either by small margins or where the score line has flattered our poor performance. Not too sure what type of challenge SA will be, its never going to be easy though is it, I would settle for a narrow loss.

    As for Wales I don’t really know what to expect, will both teams treat it as a development match or will it be a full on test match? It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine that the AIs are no longer traditional friendlies where the result didn’t really matter. They were a good chance to blood people for the 6N. Such is the importance of world rankings and building a WC squad it’s not really like that anymore. I guess it’s a good thing too as they are full on competitive matches to get excited about but I think from a player development point of view it’s not what it used to be. I guess the summer tours have filled that void to a certain extent.

    As for starting teams, I think Toonie will give the tombola a spin, expect some weird and wonderful combos. I wonder what he will do at 15? Do you play both Maitland and Kinghorn out of (usual) position to devlop Kinghorn as a winger for Hoggy coming back? I would like to see Kinghorn getting a crack at 15 but realistically as long as Hogg is fit he isn’t going to be starting there any time soon. Also Seymour’s 14 shirt would be on a shoogly peg in my team.

    • Frazer on

      Fully agree on Seymour. Since the Lions tour he’s been a shadow of the player he was before. I reckon his confidence was shot from being the top try scorer and not being allowed anywhere near the Test team – damn you Gatland (again).

      With everyone fit I would have Maitland and Kinghorn as wingers on current form, although if Darcy Graham continues his upwards trajectory who knows?

    • 1.8T on

      I’m not too up to speed with who’s fit / on form for props but for the rest here’s my starting 15…

      2. McInally
      4. Gilchrist
      5. Gray
      6. Wilson
      7. Watson
      8. Denton
      9. Price / Laidlaw (Price been playing pretty well but with no Barclay it’s hard to imagine Laidlaw not starting
      10. Russell
      11. Maitland
      12. Dunbar
      13. Jones
      14. McGuigan
      15. Kinghorn
      16. Brown
      19. Harley (perhaps a contentious one but he’s been playing well)
      20. Blade (let’s see what he’s made of)
      21. Price / Horne
      22. Hastings
      23. Horne / Lee Jones

  17. john on

    Turnover ball is crucial in Scotland’s strategy I think Fraser Brown should be looked at as a back row for these AI’s (is that why GT has picked 4 hookers?) Fraser B is brilliant at getting himself over the ball.
    I like Sam Johnson, he’s an excellent option.
    Re the back 3 I’d have McGuigan there our thereabouts.
    Finally if Skinner is a regular in the tremendous Exeter pack……that’s good enough for me

  18. john on

    Or……..maybe…………give Watson a wee break or 2 from what will be 4 brutal games on consecutive Saturdays.

  19. Neil on

    Possible team for Wales ?

    1. Dell
    2. Mcinally
    3. Nel
    4. Gilchrist
    5. Toolis
    6. Bradbury
    7. Ritchie
    8. Wilson
    9. Horne
    10. Hastings
    11. Fife
    12. Scott
    13. Harris
    14. Jones
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Ford
    17. Allan
    18. Berghan
    19. Gray
    20. Brown
    21. Prygos
    22. P.Horne
    23. Johnson

    Restings a few of the bigger players Watson/Dunbar/Jones etc for the important home games.

  20. Sotonsaltire on

    Dare I ask – is Hamish Watson a nailed on starter? Probably as Barclay not fit so not really another out and out option. On the Thistle they talked recently about him be less effective for Edinburgh this season.

    I don’t see Edinburgh that much but when I do, I don’t think he has been that impressive.

    Interested to get thoughts from those that see him more-THIS IS NOT A DROP WATSON POST! If I was to pick a first choice Scotland team to start against Fiji, he would be in it.

    • Rj on

      Funny, I was thinking this the other day as well. I am a big Watson fan but having seen every Edinburgh game this year I have to say I don’t think he’s scaled previous heights as of yet. His carrying hasn’t been as effective for me and fewer turnovers as well (although don’t have any stats to back that up. Just purely on impression). Having said that, he’s not been bad at all and think he is a big game player who will hit form soon enough.

      • CC on

        Watson just recently became a father so I think that will have had an impact. As it was said though, I think he is a big game player and will perform for Scotland.

  21. Blake Westwood on

    Don’t see why Blade Thompson can’t play in the Edinburgh match and then get on a plane straight after the match and come off the bench for the final 20 minutes to make his debut.

  22. stevomc on

    I’d rest a few for the wales game – give Watson a break, give Ritchie the opportunity. Mind you, who plays for Edinburgh if they are both away?

  23. Alex on

    Just watched Thomson on Vimeo and YouTube: unit. Puts in dominant hits-excellent footwork meaning he can go round as well as through, option in the lineout. Would love to see him persuade Itoje to sit down.

    • Merlot on

      You shouldn’t base your opinion of a player from youtube. These are the best bits. You wouldn’t bother to post a video of him missing a tackle, knocking-on or giving away a silly penalty.
      Having said that, I think Blade Thomson is an excellent player and will play his way into the RWC squad!

  24. Neil on

    Slightly off topic but now that we seem to have strong depth considering what we had in the Noughties, anyone know if our depth in International Quality Refs and Coaches is growing also ? Scottish Qualified* not that its needed for anything.

  25. john on

    -V- Wales
    Kinghorn, Seymour, H.Jones, Scott, Fife, Hastings, Price
    Fagerson, Watson, Wilson, J.Gray, Toolis, Nel, McInally, Dell
    Reps – P.Horne, L.Jones, Pygros, Ritchie, Gilchrist, Allan, Turner, Berghan

  26. Scrummo on

    Reid 120kg
    Ford 114kg
    Nel 120kg
    Gray 119kg
    Gilchrist 118kg
    Bradbury 113kg
    Denton 119kg
    Thomson 108kg

    Chuck out a monstrous pack and smash them. Total weight 935kg.

  27. TheSmidge on

    I had a go at trying to figure out if there was enough coverage across the pro teams to basically play an extra game on 3rd November, accounting for current injuries and availability. Not saying these are the teams I’d pick, but came up with this:

    1. Dell
    2. McInally
    3. Nel
    4. Toolis
    5. Gray
    6. Wilson
    7. Watson
    8. Fagerson
    9. Horne
    10. Hastings
    11. Jones (L)
    12. Johnson
    13. Jones (H)
    14. Seymour
    15. Kinghorn

    16. Brown
    17. Allan
    18. Berghan
    19. Gilchrist
    20. Harley
    21. Price
    22. Scott
    23. Fife


    1. Kebble
    2. Malcolm
    3. Rae
    4. Peterson
    5. Cummings
    6. Gibbons
    7. Fusaro
    8. Ashe
    9. Frisby
    10. Thomson
    11. DTH
    12. McDowall
    13. Grigg
    14. Hughes
    15. Jackson

    16. Bryce
    17. Bhatti
    18. du Plessis
    19. Davidson
    20. Smith
    21. Barretto
    22. Matawalu
    23. Masaga


    1. Schoeman
    2. Ford
    3. McCallum
    4. Hunter-Hill
    5. Mata
    6. Ritchie
    7. Crosbie
    8. Hamilton
    9. Fowles
    10. Hickey
    11. VDM
    12. Socino
    13. Johnstone
    14. Graham
    15. Brown

    16. Cherry
    17. Marfo
    18. ?
    19. ?
    20. Nayolo
    21. Kennedy
    22. VDW
    23. Dean

    Leaves Dunbar, Turner, Horne (P) and Pyrgos as travelling reserves for Cardiff, which leaves us dangerously short with props. I would assume that McCallum would travel to cover both sides. Even if he doesn’t, Edinburgh still have no fit tighthead or 2nd row for the bench, and that’s even assuming that Hunter-Hill is sufficiently match-fit. If nothing else, there’s an opportunity for a couple of academy lads.

    • Ben F on

      Hats off to you for that effort Smidge, phew that is dedication.

      Look at the positives , we can just about do it. I am not sure if the SRU rotation policy has been taken into account , if not its even more opportunities for newcomers.

      • Alanyst on

        Another positive…our boys don’t need to go to South Africa this week, Scarlets and Cardiff do.

        Finally, maybe we will be able to get a few SQ guys over from English sides if they aren’t picked….

  28. TheSmidge on

    Noticed that Luke Hamilton is in the latest video of the training camp on Twitter, presumably a call-up to cover Bradbury’s injury.

  29. Neil on

    Pretty sure Edinburgh signed an italian tighthead in the sunmer ? Ceralli mabey.

    Dno about lock cover, guess Ritchie could go there if needed and bring an extra backrow or back onto the bench.

  30. Rosco on

    Bradbury’s absence leaves us short for the No 8 position. Perhaps a recall for Adam Ashe who if I’m correct has more No 8 experience than Hamilton?

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