Gregor Townsend has today named a 36-man squad for a two-day training camp ahead of the first game of the 2021 Autumn Nations Series. The squad is without English and French based players who are unavailable for the first game against Tonga. The group of players who are yet to be included has some big names in it that may well mean further shuffling next week, including Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, Adam Hastings, Jonny Gray, Huw Jones and Worcester pair Rory Sutherland and Duhan Van Der Merwe. There are plenty others, with the list of additions to make up the full squad announced next Wednesday.
The group announced today features 19 players from the 2021 Scotland summer squad which was unable to play its three scheduled matches due to Covid-19. Home-based British and Irish Lions Ali Price, Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson do feature, as does Mark Bennett who was last capped in 2018 – but hasn’t started a test for Scotland since 2016.
Townsend has also brought in four new faces: three forwards and a back. Edinburgh Rugby forwards Pierre Schoeman – now qualified on residency – and Marshall Sykes are joined by midfield back Charlie Savala in the training group, along with Cell C Sharks loose-forward Dylan Richardson who qualifies for Scotland through his father, who was born in Edinburgh. The 22 year-old flanker has started two URC matches this season having lined up against Munster in the opening round and Glasgow Warriors in round two and was part of the matchday 23 for the South African team’s third-round win against Ospreys.
Ben Vellacott and Cammy Hutchinson are perhaps unlucky to miss out at this stage but there is a reshuffle ahead for sure and the list of backs is pretty inexperienced, it is possible there wasn’t room for them at this stage. Jaco van der Walt is another odd one given the lack of options at standoff. Richie Gray, Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings also miss out (Berghan and Cummings are injured).
Scotland Autumn Nations Training Squad (categories ours)
Rory Darge – uncapped
Dylan Richardson – uncapped
Luke Crosbie – uncapped
Jamie Hodgson – uncapped
Marshall Sykes – uncapped
Pierre Schoeman – uncapped
We could break this down but honestly this will be a mish mash with players covering multiple positions. It looks like Kinghorn is being picked as a standoff though as we are very thin on experience there until the official test window opens.
Rufus McLean – uncapped
Cole Forbes – uncapped
Sione Tuipulotu – uncapped
Matt Currie – uncapped
Jack Blain – uncapped
Ross Thompson – uncapped
Charlie Savala – uncapped
Jamie Dobie – uncapped
Scotland play Tonga on the 30th October.