Much has been made of Scotland’s improved strength in depth in recent years. Having managed three wins in the Six Nations for the fourth time in the last five years (a feat the dark blues had only managed once in their previous 17 attempts) there is a feeling that Gregor Townsend’s side have the opportunity to push on to even greater heights.
Amongst all this looms the spectre of the 2023 World Cup in France and a tough pool where Scotland are third seeds behind Ireland and South Africa. There will be around 25/26 Test matches to play before the Scots clash with the defending world champions on Sunday 10th September 2023.
That leaves a little over two and a half years before the tournament kicks off in earnest. The conveyor belt of talent on Scotland’s Depth Chart has to start coming into sharper focus as the coaches consider which veterans are likely to make it through to the RWC – and also who might break through to be among the top choices before Pool B kicks off.
To that end the traditional Depth Chart format has been given a tweak to bring a more forward-looking slant. Identifying players on the conveyor belt, moving through the age bands, makes it easier to begin assessing where Scotland might be in the third quarter of 2023 and beyond.
All this week, the Scottish Rugby Blog will take an in-depth look at the six positional groups to consider where the men’s national side currently stands and where they might be in two and a half year’s time.
Where possible, a top 10 in each position has been selected.
Age ranges are:
- 30+. The riskiest group for making it to the 2023 RWC.
- 26-29. Should all be young enough to make it to France.
- 22-25. Hopefully set fair for the next two RWC cycles.
- 21 and under. Could still be available for the 2031 tournament.
Ages are decimal (blame Excel!) and may round up – so a player may be noted as aged 30.0 while still a couple of weeks short of their 30th birthday.
- First choice – based on Gregor Townsend’s selection tendencies.
- Second choice – most likely backup in each area.
- Other capped players.
- Uncapped players.
At this point, nearly 50% of the way through the current RWC cycle, only players who have made their top league professional debut are included in the full Depth Chart.
Each article will also take a look ahead to the 2027 RWC and some key prospects who have yet to move on to the Conveyor Belt.