Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 2022 Six Nations Squad

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championship Launch, Tobacco Dock, London, England 22/1/2020 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and captain Stuart Hogg Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

This year’s names to frantically google? Saracens back-rower Andy Christie and London Irish scrum-half Ben White, who are two of five uncapped players in Gregor Townsend’s squad along with Rory Darge, Ben Vellacott and Kyle Rowe.

Christie (22) represented Scotland at youth level, playing for the Under-16s and has played with Saracens since 2018. Had Dylan Richardson been fit, might we have seen him instead?

White (23), signed for London Irish last year from Leicester Tigers and featured in their victory over Edinburgh Rugby last weekend. Former Scotland 7s and U20s cap Kyle Rowe also plays for London Irish. With George Horne struggling for form and Jamie Dobie still very inexperienced at this level, White could be the Scott Steele of 2022 and end up playing on the flank.

Now looking like the front-runner for a bench spot covering scrum-half, Vellacott missed out on selection in the autumn but his recent form has proven too good to ignore for the heat of a Six Nations campaign. Another welcome name to see on the squad list is Cameron Redpath who has recovered from a massive injury layoff and will be looking to supplement his single (though impressive) cap.

Ewan Ashman, Jamie Hodgson, Josh Bayliss, Javan Sebastian, Pierre Schoeman, Rufus McLean and Sione Tuipulotu all received their first Scotland caps in the Autumn and are included once again as Townsend moves to prepare a younger squad to build towards the next World Cup.

The squad will meet up at Oriam on Monday 24 January for a training camp before reconvening the following week ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash.

Stuart Hogg once again captains his country while the senior leadership group will this year be stacked with British and Irish Lions experience – and test experience at that.

There are call-ups for Jonny Gray, Magnus Bradbury and prop WP Nel who missed out on selection in the Autumn. Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson also earns a squad selection having not featured for Scotland in 2021.

Notable omissions include Glasgow forwards Oli Kebble and Fraser Brown, as well as Premiership backs Adam Hastings and Huw Jones. Although there are a lot of centres in there it does leave cover at standoff looking a little thin.


Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – 2 caps
Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – 2 caps
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 14 caps
Andy Christie – Saracens – uncapped
Scott Cummings – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 48 caps
Jonny Gray – Exeter Chiefs – 64 caps
Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 10 caps
Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – 3 caps
Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps
WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 31 caps
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
Javan Sebastian – Scarlets – 1 cap
Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 15 caps
Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps
Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps


Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 31 caps
Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – 88 caps – Captain
Rory Hutchinson – Northampton Saints – 5 caps
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 28 caps
Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – 2 caps
Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 46 caps
Cameron Redpath – Bath Rugby – 1 cap
Kyle Rowe – London Irish – uncapped
Finn Russell – Racing 92 – 58 caps
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
Sione Tuipulotu- Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 13 caps
Ben Vellacott – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Ben White – London Irish – uncapped

57 Responses

  1. Scotland squad up, quite strong in many respects but some odd choices and notable omissions.

    Why do we have 6 centres and only one out and out FH? Why omit Adam Hastings whose form has reportedly been good for Gloucester?

    Notable omissions obviously Hastings, Maitland (whose international career is presumably over), Kebble, Brown, Jones (predictably).

    1. Heard good things about Christie but no idea if he’s a likely member of 23 yet or one for the future.

      Hutch gets in the squad which is good for him but given the number of centres selected a long way to go to get on the pitch.

      I think we’ll see a very familiar side take on England, the only area for real change is back row where Bradbury and Darge are making a strong charge for starting positions.

      Thistle reporting rumours Bradbury could be heading to Exeter or Saracens. Could be a great finishing school for him to tune him into the test beast we all crave at 8.

    2. For me 6 centres suggests Toony doesnt know who his starting centres are likely to be. If Redpath is fully match fit and back to his best I would let him continue his winning record against England. If not then I fully expect Johnson and Harris to start.

    3. Is Brown really a surprise! Might be for some however not for me, dreadful darts and a penalty machine. There are other choices. I like Cherry , consistent and better throw in.

  2. LH – Bhatti, Schoeman, Sutherland
    H – Ashman, McInally, Turner
    TH – Fagerson, Nel, Sebastian
    L – Cummings, Gilchrist, Gray, Hodgson, Skinner
    BR – Bayliss, Bradbury, Christie, Darge, Fagerson, Haining, Ritchie, Watson
    SH – Price, Vellacott, White
    FH – Russell, Kinghorn
    C – Bennett, Harris, Hutchinson, Johnson, Redpath, Tuipolotu
    BT – Graham, Hogg, McLean, Rowe , Steyn, Van Der Merwe

    Team from that:

    Stuart Hogg – Darcy Graham – Chris Harris – Sam Johnson – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

    Sione Tuipolotu – Blair Kinghorn – Ben Vellacott – Nick Haining – Grant Gilchrist – Willem Nel – Stuart McInally – Pierre Schoeman

    Did anyone else have no idea what position or club Ben White plays when they saw the name?

    1. That’ll be pretty close IMO, essentially the team from the AIs with the first choice second row back in. How has Rory Sutherland been playing recently? I would possibly have Schoeman in front of him but that’s without seeing any of Rory recently.

      Would like to see Bradbury getting a crack at 8 at some point, I know he has had several chances and has a habit of going missing but he has been playing well and I have always liked the cut of his jib if he could just find some consistency.

      Standing opinion that I wouldn’t have Hogg as captain. I actually think he has got better and is a reasonably good captain now, he communicates well with the refs but I will never be happy with a FB as captain, its the wrong position for it and no one will convince me otherwise!

  3. I can’t understand the Kinghorn Flyhalf experiment, despite being a strong runner he’s a history of butchering overlaps and going for glory. God forbid Russell gets injured early on in the upcoming England game and we will be in a world of trouble. Hasting can play centre as can Kinghorn but Hastings is by some measure a much better flyhalf.

    It looks like a great squad aside from the 1 omission, hopefully our forwards can rediscover last years six nations form as I thought they regressed during the winter internationals

    1. You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head for me.

      Think its a strong squad but we become immediately vulnerable if we lose Finn to injury. Kinghorn isn’t a fly half, and moving Hogg into 10 as emergency cover deprives us of one of our most potent attacking options. Is there any evidence that one of the other (numerous) centres can do a job at fly half?

      Very odd decision that.

  4. Good squad on the whole. However, as has already been mentioned, very surprised at the omission of Hastings to say the least!. Very thin at FH

    1. Hearing that Hogg had an involvement in Hastings omission, as the star player he must have the best teeth and hair in the squad to inspire leadership. Fake it till ya make it.

  5. wouldnt Hastings just be drafted in if Finn got injured? Kinghorn as a starter 10 doesnt fill me with confidence., so hopefully Finn will stay fit.

    Guess injury to Hogg would also cause problems

    Otherwise squad seems to have greater depth than has been the case in the past

    1. I see what you are saying but it’s very odd that he was omitted from an extended squad. Strange message sent there to the player and public ? Unless he has a niggle we are unaware of?

  6. Surely Kinghorn has been picked ahead of Hastings for the bench and if Finn gets injured Hastings comes straight in as starting FH for the next game.

    1. If that were the case I don’t see any reason for Hastings to not be preparing with the squad. Otherwise he’s get dropped into the squad with a handful of training days before the Wales game. I think if Russell gets injured Hastings comes onto the bench.

      1. Kinghorn as second choice starting FH is absolute madness at that level. Fair enough at club level but this is a totally different kettle of fish. If Finn gets injured then Hastings (if drafted in immediately) would get at least a week’s training ahead of the next game and he already has enough games with Price under his belt. I bet Gloucester are well chuffed.

    2. I’d like to think that would be the case. Both Hastings and Kinghorn can play 10 and 15, and for out of position in my opinion Hastings is a better 15 than Kinghorn is a 10. Guess Kinghorn can cover wing too and he is a useful guy to have on the bench. I don’t watch English rugby so haven’t been following Hastings recently but that’s a very big and questionable call. It must be tactical for the squad, it’s not like he’s even been dropped for another recognised quality fly half they just haven’t bothered taking a spare one. Bit harsh on Kinghorn maybe he hasn’t been too bad at 10 for Edinburgh but that’s about the stretch of it, he is what he is and that is a make shift 10 who has only recently started playing there.

      1. Scrummo : The Currie cup winner Huw Jones, who plays for the current Premiership champions, has two less lions caps than Hogg or Harris. The latter plays with the former in international rugby as they are polar opposites , one is a creative attacker and the other a solid tackler. Even Gatland worked that out , went for a couple of all rounders and dropped them both in the ill fated third test. Not that it made any difference as momentum was with the boks and no one was able to handle the high ball, the replacements were not on the pace either.

    1. Come on now, we all had to eat our humble pie about Chris Harris a long time ago, he’s class, one of the first names on the sheet now. I would love Huw Jones to get a run but it would be a big and risky call, 2018 Huw Jones would pip it, but it’s not 2018 anymore…

      1. Harris plays with Hastings week in week out now. I would have thought it was a shoe in.

  7. Think Redpath played at 10 from the start for Bath last week. Would also prefer to see him start if match fit than Sam Johnson and agree we need a better attacking option at 13. So frustrating Jones cant get his form of 4 or so years ago back wasted talent!

  8. No specialist replacement at #10 is a concern.

    Some have said that Hastings could be called up if Finn gets injured, but what if Finn gets injured during a game and has to leave the field? Every possible option for an in-game replacement is more than a little undercooked at FH.

    Might teams target Finn knowing that we lack an adequate replacement? Or does Toonie see something in, say, Kinghorn at FH that has eluded the rest of us?

    1. Yes,had to Google “Ben White”-never heard of him.Embarrassed to find out he actually played (off the bench) at srcum half for London Irish on Saturday against Edinbugh and I streamed the match! Certainly their starter Nick Phipps outplayed Vellacott who certainly had his poorest game so far in an Edinburgh shirt. Not sure how long White was on for.

  9. I can only assume that there is another reason for Hastings non-selection; upcoming fatherhood perhaps? Seems crazy to have just the one out and out FH when AH has been playing well. Several emergency options including Redpath who might have played there pre pro level but none are a natural 10. Toonie seems to want to constantly generate squad depth which is good but also need to build some consistency in selection in the run up to RWC. Wondering whether the huge array of back rows and centres in camp is so that GT can settle on first choices. Back row is a really hard call especially with Bradbury and Darge hitting fine form (and Haining has looked good at times too) but wondering if midfield might be revised a bit. Johnson & Harris a solid defensive combo but Tuipulotu has really impressed so could be in with a shout. Does seem that Huw Jones is considered yesterday’s man, unbelievable given his incredible form 3-4 years ago. Wouldn’t mind Scott being recalled either but can’t see that happening now. Still concerned about lack of back up at TH and FB a bit of a concern should Hoggy get injured – anyone else other than Kinghorn? Still, we’d have sold our family, house and action-man collection for a squad this strong 15 years ago – hope the coaches get them to deliver this year.

    1. I hope you are right. Townsend was on STV the other evening saying how the experiences this squad has had in the last year , leads him to believe this side can win the championship. I think the players are capable as well. His body language was not as positive as his rhetoric.

  10. Think omission of Hastings & kinghorn the only other recognised 10 screams of a desire to have a 6-2 split on the bench. Presumably 2 of darge, Christie, Bayliss or Bradbury- which reduces the likelihood of a pack drop off entering the final quarter

    1. Yes, I don’t think it would be a big surprise to have a utility 10 as backup in games rather than a dedicated 10.
      However, not having a‘proper’ 10 in the training squad as backup if Russell gets injured is a concern as you either start one of the utility 10’s in a big game or you fast track another 10 in to start who hasn’t been training with the squad – neither of which seem ideal.

      1. Agreed, I immediately thought 6-2 split when Kinghorn started playing as a 10, but we didn’t actually do that in the Autumn I don’t think? It’s risky not having a proper spare 10 in the squad, maybe they think because AH wont be starting or on the bench either (assuming that is what they use Kinghorn for) that its better for him being at his club getting game time than warming a seat in the stand?

    2. Speaking of 10s I see Ben Healy has not made it into Ireland’s 6N squad despite signing a new Munster deal. Wonder if Toonie is still trying to woo him ahead of the RWC, I reckon he’d be straight into the Scotland squad.

      1. You are funny, well it makes me smile. In light of everyone’s confussion over the decision to ignore Hastings, who is experienced and doing nothing wrong ,other that settling at his new club and inspiring them to a decent standard of rugby , you think that Ben Healy could be attracted to Scotland. Why don’t you get it ! What is so attractive about getting a few caps and being dumped by Toonie.

        Ok this is a personal opinion , but I would sooner enjoy my rugby with my club , than warm up the bench or sent home in the international set up.

      2. TENC: I think you are sorta right, but for the wrong reasons. Continual churn is not building a team, but that seems to be the Townsend way. We just seem to get them up the learning curve when we change our minds.

  11. Don’t think it can be over stated how important Nel is – if and until Kebble switches. We were toast against SA and ZF can’t go the whole game. Hope Nel can still play 20 mins at the next WC, especially with SA and Ireland waiting.

    1. We were it’s true outplayed by the Saffer pack in November but I think it’s a bit harsh to say we were toast.
      Funnily enough the following week the England pack, including their ‘finishers’, were burnt to scrapings by SA and England did really well to get a win out of that beasting up front.
      It’s a contrast and a kind of form line that gives me a reasonable hope we can match up well against the England pack on 5 Feb. Especially as I don’t think Eddie Jones is at all sure about his best forward selection.

  12. Javan Sebastian ? Way down the pecking order Ayr Scarlets is a surprise. Kebble has played well when capped and is aggressive and the more proven option, Ive not seen enough of the Glasgow games to witness his drop off in form.
    Like everyone else , the back up 10 is the concern. King horn hasn’t convinced, Hastings is a proven option who won’t go missing in an international. If his form has dipped I’d have rolled the dice with Thomson, His kicking is good and he is no less experienced than some of the other picks.

    1. I don’t understand the inclusion of Sebastian either. What’s Daryl Marfo doing these days?

      1. Sebastian : Does anyone get that selection , would they please speak up! I am totally dumbfounded by it.

  13. the omission of Hastings has been explained by tombola himself – he simply thinks BK is playing better. He might be playing well, but seems utterly bizarre that he’s playing well enough to literally squeeze out the only other dedicated, test-battle hardened and proven No 10 who has not let us down in the past. It simply makes no sense when we’re talking about the actual extended squad. Cutting off nose to prove a point is old toony, yet again. Unless, as others have mentioned, there is some other issue at play here…..

  14. I reckon the omission of Hastings may be a clear indicator that Toony is planning a 6/2 split on bench. In his match day 23 he’d probably have at least 2 of Hogg, Kinghorn and Redpath who can all cover 10. He spoke about Hutchison being able to do this too.
    Means he can also name Darge on bench as a specialist 7, alongside a 6/8 – probably either Hanning or Bradbury.
    If he starts either Redpath at 12 or Kinghorn on wing then he can put Vellacott and Tuipulotu on bench. If they don’t start, one of them will be on bench beside Vellacott.
    Although probably very foolish to predict Townsend :)

  15. Really like the squad.

    Like most, wast surprised by Hastings’ omission but at the same time giving him a push to take initiative and keep improving is probably a good thing for a player like him.

    Kinghorn gives us a lot of possibilities on the bench, namely the option of carrying a specialist there which is normally a luxury that can’t be afforded. Could see either an out-and-out openside like Darge, as some have suggested, or a game breaker like Bennett getting minutes from the bench.

    Excited to see Hutchinson in there. Offers a different skillset to Johnson and feels like it could be one that works well with Harris’s, ahem, more direct approach to attack. Johnson looks a bit out of form as well so maybe time to freshen up a bit.

    Tigers and Irish fans on other platforms don’t have much positive to say about Ben White so that remains a bit of a mystery. Can’t imagine we’ll see him much though given how important Price is and the form of Vellacott.

    Christie looks a shrewd inclusion. Versatile, dynamic and highly rated by Saracens. Looking forward to seeing him in this set-up.

    As always, its fun to pick a 23 so here’s what I would *like* to see v England.

    Hogg, Graham, Harris, Hutchinson, Van der Merwe, Russell, Price, Schoeman, Turner, Fagerson, Cummings, Gray, Ritchie, Watson, Bradbury

    Mcinally, Sutherland, Nel, Skinner, Bayliss, Vellacott, Kinghorn, Bennett

    1. I’d be perfectly happy going withat with the exception of redpath edging out Hutchison.He looked pretty sharp for Bath earlier today despite the scoreline (64-7 to Leinster). Also Bayliss failed an HIA so he could be in doubt-a bit like McInally last night.Fagerson would fit in well though in that selection in his place on the bench.

  16. Hastings omission is baffling, he is an on form fly half and fits in this team. Redpath has played very little rugby due to injury and is, in the squad. As I recall he did a similar thing in the world cup with Duncan Taylor and it never worked. Kinghorn is not a natural flyhalf and is untested in the pressure cooker that is the 6N.

  17. I was / am sceptical of Kinghorn at 10 for Edinburgh but give him his due he has been superb for Edinburgh (and fits the new attacking style like a glove) it’s the lack of a kicking alternative that troubles me more, (in saying that I still think Hastings is better than Kinghorn at 10 & 15) horses for courses??

    1. I’ve also been surprised by how well kinghorn’s move to 10 has gone.

      The issue for me is that against England and France, Russell and Hogg’s kicking game was absolutely instrumental to our success. I just don’t think Kinghorn has developed a high quality kicking game for us to play that way at test level, so if Russell is injured we are in very challenging circumstances. Hastings might not be at his level, but he’s had a number of years exposed to 6N rugby at FH and generally performed pretty well. Kinghorn could wilt under the pressure of a full-blooded test match, it’s a huge and unnecessary gamble.

      1. I think everyone is saying the same thing and that final line by FF says it all :” it’s a huge and unnecessary gamble”. So why is Townsend doing it ?

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