Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland Summer Tour Squad Announced

Grant Gilchrist - pic © Al Ross
Grant Gilchrist - pic © Al Ross

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has announced a 40-man Scotland Summer Tour squad to visit South America, that will feature neither Finn Russell (injury) or Stuart Hogg (rested).

Grant Gilchrist will skipper the tour in Hogg’s absence.

Defensive workhorse Chris Harris also misses out – but not all the Lions are being rested though: Rory Sutherland, Zander Fagerson, Ali Price, Hamish Watson and Duhan van Der Merwe will all tour, with Watson highly likely to pass the 50-cap mark as long as he features once.

A Scotland “A” team will take on Chile in Santiago on Saturday 25 June before the “full” Scotland play their three-test series against Argentina, on the first three Saturdays in July.

Ben Muncaster, Glen Young, Matt Currie (all Edinburgh), Kyle Rowe (London Irish) and Murphy Walker and Ollie Smith (Glasgow) are the uncapped players in the group.

Unusually for a Townsend squad, there are no surprising drop-ins from the southern hemisphere or even south of the border but it is still quite a fresh-faced looking squad so it’s hardly a reliance on the tried and tested.

Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown, Stuart McInally, WP Nel and Jamie Ritchie are experienced regulars who won’t make the trip, while others who have appeared in Scotland squads recently but won’t feature in South America barring a mishap include Josh Bayliss, Nick Haining, Dylan Richardson, Kyle Steyn, Cam Redpath and Ben Vellacott.

In Russell’s absence, it’s likely to fall between Hastings and Kinghorn at standoff for the full tests. Hastings form was ignored during the Six Nations in favour of giving Kinghorn test experience/punishing Russell.

As to the question of who will play fullback? It’s almost a case of who hasn’t put in a shift there for their clubs in the last couple of years despite it not being their “regular” position: Jones and Hutchinson in particular have Premiership experience at 15 and even Ross Thompson, Darcy Graham and Damien Hoyland have pulled the shirt on for the pro teams. Being deputy to the ever-present Hogg is perhaps a bit of a poisoned chalice but this tour is a chance for someone to showcase their talent in the role.

Adam Hastings has played there internationally and Kinghorn started out there before switching to 10 more recently. With Kinghorn now considered as a 10 by both Townsend and Edinburgh coach Mike Blair, we may be more likely to see Smith or Jones feature at the back.

A few of the team picked their XVs after the announcement though it seems unlikely that Scotland defence coach Steve Tandy will allow us the midfield of our dreams:

Rory’s Possible Scotland XV: Jones, Graham, Bennett, Hutchinson, van der Merwe, Hastings, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, Crosbie, Watson, Fagerson.

Jonny’s Possible Scotland XV: Jones, Graham, Tuipulotu, Hutchinson, van der Merwe, Kinghorn, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, Skinner, Watson, Fagerson.

Craig’s Possible Scotland XV: Jones, Graham, Bennett, Hutchinson, van der Merwe, Kinghorn, White; Schoeman, Turner, Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, Muncaster, Watson, Fagerson.

Scotland 2022 Summer Tour Squad

Forwards: Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh Rugby), Andy Christie (Saracens), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors),
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Captain) (Edinburgh Rugby), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie Hodgson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ben Muncaster (Edinburgh Rugby), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby), Glen Young (Edinburgh Rugby).

Backs: Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Currie (Edinburgh Rugby), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Damian Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors),
Huw Jones (Harlequins), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), Rufus McLean (Glasgow Warriors), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Kyle Rowe (London Irish), Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Warriors), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors), Ben White (London Irish).

Summer Tour 2022 Fixtures

Chile v Scotland A | Saturday 25 June 2022, kick-off 9pm (UK time) – Estadio Santa Laura Universidad SEK, Santiago, live on Premier Sports

Argentina v Scotland | Saturday 2 July 2022, kick-off 8.10pm (UK time) – Estadio 23 de Agosto, Jujuy, live on Sky Sports

Argentina v Scotland | Saturday 9 July 2022, kick-off 8.10pm (UK time) – Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta, live on Sky Sports

Argentina v Scotland | Saturday 16 July 2022, kick-off 8.10pm (UK time) – The Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago Del Estero, live on Sky Sports

53 Responses

  1. Hearing on the grapevine that Aidan Ross has turned down a Toony call up for the second time.

    1. Finn Smith appears to have turned him down also, given Telegraph had indicated he’d been invited.

      No rabbits from the hat – Russell and Hogg rested but otherwise a strong squad.

  2. Squad is oot… no real surprises/bolsters really. Hogg Russell n Harris rested

  3. Same old faces!!! No Vellacott but Ali Price going – where is the resting of players or trial of others??? No real learnings for 2nd row either

  4. I’m guessing Vellacot is injured. Didn’t make the 23 for Edinburgh’s QF.

  5. A couple of interesting points from the teams the guys picked. 2 out of 3 Still think Sutherland first choice LH. I think Craig has this one spot on.
    I’d also argue for Cherry to be first choice hooker. Turner’s form is patchy. Cherry played almost every game for Edinburgh who finished the season with the best lineout in the URC. Think he threw 100% in the QF. In general when the lineout goes well Scotland go well.

    1. Schoeman is the in form loosehead. The tour might benefit Sutherland, he has had a bad year.

      1. It would be a tremendous fillip for Scotland to have fit and firing Schoeman and Sutherland in the 23

  6. My XV v Argentina
    Jones Graham Bennett Hutchinson VDM
    Hastings Price Bradbury Watson Crosbie
    GG Gray Fagerson Cherry Schoeman
    Reps Kinghorn, Johnson Horne Muncaster Skinner Walker Turner Sutherland

  7. Huw Jones – Darcy Graham – Mark Bennett – Rory Hutchinson – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Adam Hastings – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Luke Crosbie – Grant Gilchrist (C) – Scott Cummings – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Pierre Schoeman

    Sam Johnson – Blair Kinghorn – Ben White – Magnus Bradbury – Sam Skinner – Murphy Walker – Ewan Ashman – Rory Sutherland

    1. That’s such an exciting backline – will never happen lol.

      I like the team although would prefer Watson and Z Fagerson on the bench as emergency options with Darge and Walker starting. There’s enough experience elsewhere that we shouldn’t need them. Also would make more sense to have a back 3 player on the bench in place of Johnson.

      That lineup is made for Blair Kinghorn starting at 10 as well. Threats all over the pitch and Hutchinson there to do most of the distributing.

      1. Resting Hogg and Russell is an excellent opportunity to develop a bit more confidence in their understudies. But with no obvious 15 (Maitland seems to have been set aside for RWC) I wonder if Kinghorn will start at 15 with Hastings at 10, or if Kinghorn is now not seen as a back three option at all?

        Resting Harris is a big opportunity too, would love to see Bennett or Jones really seize it and give Toonie a selection headache by being defensively water tight. Whilst Hogg and Russell will almost inevitably come back into the starting line up I think the centre positions are far more up for grabs as our midfield did not work in the 6N and our defence wasn’t too hot either.

    2. That back line would be both great in attack and terrible in defense…I think.

      Not sure what more Cherry has to do to start. Looks the most solid all around hooker we have at the moment. Turner has consistently looked shaky and unconvincing as a test starter.

  8. From newspaper comments re Hogg from Toonie, when will he get it that Hogg is not the player to be Scotland’s captain

    1. Just had a read of it out of curiosity.

      I’m not so sure tbh. Don’t think there’s anything else he could’ve said when asked that question. He can’t say no as would be chucking Hogg under the bus and creating an unnecessary media spotlight on one of his senior players over the summer.

      I think we’ll quietly see someone else take it over from November. Still hope it’s Ritchie personally.

      1. Yes to Ritchie but Scotland’s backrow is furiously competitive so might be harder to say Ritchie is a nailed on starter for the next however many years?

        Watson, Fagerson, Ritchie
        Darge, Muncaster, Crosbie, Bradbury

        Possibly even Boyle, Dempsey, Skinner as a 6/8 hybrid in a small RWC squad…

      2. I think the 6N this year proved how important Ritchie is.

        He’s quite unique in what he offers (turnover threat, speed to the breakdown, lineout option) and is clearly a leader in the squad. None of the other options we tried were able to provide this and think we generally looked pretty lost.

        There are some good young players for sure but with Watson likely winding down post-WC, I fully expect him to be one of the first names on the teamsheet up to 2027.

      3. …yes…I think Ritchie would have been capt. for summer tour had he been fit.
        He said what he needed to say to retain balance within the squad.
        Hogg had his chance as captain and showed that he is not a captain.

  9. Why no Chris Dean? After Saturday’s complete capitulation, these Glasgow backs should be nowhere near this squad and Edinburgh ran them ragged! It makes a complete mockery of GT picking on form.

      1. He has played a lot for Worcester this season. I’m not sure if it more than javan, but reckon he was worth a shot, seeing as he plays both sides

    1. Seems to be getting a fair amount of game time down there and from what ive read is popular with the fans. Javan only seems to get pelters from the scarlets fans… also played at loose and tight head in the prem Cup final

  10. Can’t understand just removing Danny Wilson. Scottish rugby is bleeding out from a head wound. Sure while we were stumbling around in the dirt, post six nations, one of our legs was blown off. But a crutch at Glasgow isn’t going fix it.

    In this system the tone is set from the top – we need morale coursing through the national side (that comes from performances even if losses), a team built round a world class ten that feels welcome and part of the plans, a midfield combination that works, a band aid at TH and above all a man manager of a coach who inspires the players (or at least gets them to fight for him and each other like Vern).

    Everyone should give up on this cycle – the players are there, enough. But things look uncertain, messy and tense. We keep expecting things to change – one minute the quickest champagne rugby in the world to click into place and the next we’ll have the tactical nouse of Ireland – but why, it never has.

    Summer test squad – will any of the important questions be tested, who plays in the midfield (no Harris is out so invulnerable), who is cover at tighthead (Nel is not even taken along so who knows if he can still do a second half). It’s just going to be more tinkering around – we’ll realise Jones does a great job at fullback and Hastings is a proper ten, but then neither will figure in the WC.

    The last WC, Wales away, France, the Lions tests, Finn debacle, Hogg/Finn debacle, Ritchie Gray, Hastings last six nations, Kebble this autumn, France game alone, all as bad as Leinster and relentless hammering of morale. And where has Watson gone and why?

    Let’s pls reset – talk of the Toonie out before the Summer Tests, or it’s just the same over and over and over. Not going to happen, but it’s just a long slow predictable train wreck (with actually very little hype or hope).

  11. The biggest concern for me is the same as the last RWC, we don’t know our best centre combination… unless it’s Johnson/Harris.. which does not work at the highest level.

    1. To state the obvious, arming the full range of Finn’s distribution is key – he needs threats wide, in the middle and behind. If there’s no one keeping the defence honest in the middle particularly for the little dink over the top or taking the very flat option, he, the whole team, is so much more defendable. As they just shuffle it sideways or look for Hogg / VDM and a prayer, the odd cross kick pass that is more predictable bc he won’t be going down the middle. Especially without a rampaging 8 lurking anywhere. Just have to look when he is at his best for Racing (Vakatawa), Barbarians (Redradra), Scotland (Jones, Bennett), Lions (Henshaw). So if you play Harris, you need a Bennett, Jones, (on the basis of one game) Redpath, or possibly Tuipolotu (though that experiment has not worked so far). I think Johnson is quality and another can do the job, but not with Harris.

      But Finn and Harris aren’t travelling anyway, and all of that is a distant second to team morale. Especially of Russell, Hogg, Watson, Fagerson.

      Maitland remains class, is hugely experienced and a calm head, so is a massive miss to this squad too. Looks like he could on forever, so why not use him.

      Anyway meh.

      1. Exactly sir, its fine having Finn R at 10 but having solid citizens inside him makes no sense Harris is the epitome of solid citizen, creates nothing, yes tackles well but ultimately creates nothing. GT seems to be obsessed with a solid tackling 13, now (from my arm chair).
        Russell is a superb 10 but strangely scottish in that if he’s passing to solid citizens he gets fed up. Fleetingly Redpath at 12 has shown what can be done but GT hasn’t tried a 2nd 5/8 @12 when Redpath has been injured

      2. Amen – the 2nd 5/8th seems to work (Redpath , some here would say Horne), but more so it’s the running threat at 13 that is key in recent teams, failing that the 2nd 5/8th as you say.

      3. Agree with a lot of this.

        I’m a big fan of Harris but it absolutely does not work pairing him with Johnson. Harris is quite an underrated attacker imo and there is a benefit to having a player there who mainly hits and straightens the line but his distribution is average at best and he needs a strong passer inside him.

        Johnson is a pretty mediocre distributor as well so the ball just gets clogged in midfield. Also why it hasn’t worked putting Tuipulotu at 12 either.

        I think Hutchinson or Redpath have to be in. Hutch is probably the key attacking creator for Saints and Redpath has shown a lot of promise for this at age-grade as well.

      4. Yeah, never been convinced by Johnson & Harris. Harris has to be there – his defence isn’t just good or solid, it’s genuinely world class. Agree with Rob that Redpath & Harris is our first choice, but with Redpath horrible injury luck, we need Hutchinson in there. No idea whose chips he peed on, but I’d be looking to him and Harris as our centre pairing for the world cp, and they’re running out of chances to play together.

    2. Who is first choice hooker? Thats another key question, McInally hasn’t travelled. Gilchrist as captain, looks terrified every time he speaks (won’t say boo to GT maybe)?

  12. In my opinion Harris shouldn’t be anywhere near the 13 Scotland Jersey. He’s a good player but hasn’t got the necessary attacking skills which Scotland so need.
    Huw Jones has been horribly managed .
    Looking forward to seeing Bennett in Argentina, anything less 2-1 in the series would be unacceptable, 3-0 would be nice.

    1. Could have taken Taylor along (putting aside that he is a better player than Harris anyway) and mimicked his style of play and seen who shone alongside. Nah that would be too useful.

  13. Oh dear Hastings and Huw Jones out of Argentina tour and suddenly we are down to bare bones at 10 and 15. Shame Smith wasn’t ready to commit, or whatever the story is, as four games on consecutive weeks is a bit of a stretch for two 10s who are both pretty green in test FH terms.

  14. Suppose Jaco might get called up as can cover both 10 & 15 and has shown some better form this last season. Unless there’s something we don’t know about Matthews; pleased he’s in the squad but how many hookers do we need unless someone else is also injured.

  15. Good call that-JacoVDW-was scratching my head as so few alternatives at all but he played well at FB for Edinburgh after Immelmann’s injury and,of course,can do a job at fly half.(Of course might be back in SA on holiday thus the delay in announcing any (possible) replacement/s.

  16. No Russell and now no Hastings; who’s taking the kicks? Either have to start a few green Thompson in the tests or hope for a favorable wind if Kinghorn is that option. All the more reason to me that Jaco should be called up and can play at 15 to allow for T or K to play at 10 and Jaco could of course be the 3rd choice FH to give more flexibility on the bench.

      1. He has but not exactly a regular/first choice kicker. But admittedly, Jaco hasn’t had much practice this season either which I think just leaves Thompson as a regular. Would you want him starting in every test this summer? Argentina has some really good players and I reckon will be tough to beat especially on home turf. Could be a matter of which group of players gel best as a team in their preparation – unfortunately, not something Scotland have been particularly good at recently and evidenced by some of the disjointed performances on the pitch.
        On another point, hope Ashman and Hutchinson are given plenty of game time and Bennett has a great opportunity to show he can deliver at international level again.

  17. Leicester vs Saracens: poetic justice in Leicester win. This match was entertaining, at times, but also an example of how a referee’s opinion has more weight than strict rules of the game. Rugby would be a better game if the scrum penalty was replaced with a free kick.

    1. I saw that Matt Scott got sin-binned on 76 mins to allow Sarries back to 12-12. Other than that, how did he play and does he have any chance of more caps or have to coaches moved on from him?

  18. Quite a cameo from Scott – played five minutes, got the ball once, a half break, then yellow carded for head contact (questionable) and ended up with a winners medal. The question is not if he is good enough but how good a fit he is likely to be.

    1. Maybe I’m missing something, but it looked to me like Vunipola charged head first into Scott, so I don’t see why Scott should be yellow carded.

      1. I thought the same at the time-Scott had mocro-seconds to react.I’m all for protecting the head but some red cards this season have been very unfair.Equally there were a couple of decisions in the match where it seemed the ref was determined not to red card even though it was worse than Scott’s offence.Anyway at least he now has a winner’s medal thanks to Burns’ drop goal.

  19. Right, where’s Neil with his Scotland A XV for Chile this weekend?

    Would go something along the lines of:

    Bhatti, Ashman, Sebastian, Cummings (capt.), Hodgson, Muncaster, Christie, Fagerson
    Horne, Thompson, McLean, Tuipulotu, Currie, Rowe, Hoyland

    Cherry, Sutherland, Walker, Young, Crosbie, White, Hutchinson, Smith

    Main aim is to see some of the guys who won’t play in the rest of the tests get a start and give some of the younger guys a low pressure intro to test rugby (Muncaster, Rowe, Walker etc). Also a chance to give guys who haven’t played much recently (Sutherland, Fagerson, Horne, Cummings) a proper run out.

    1. Remember English based players not availble due to international window not opening till next weekend (crazy I know!).
      So that rules out Ashman,Christie,Rowe,sutherland and Hutchison for a start.

      1. Ah fair enough, didn’t realise that.

        Have to say I pretty much nailed the selection other than that lol.

  20. In the absence of English based players I would go with
    1. Bhatti, 2. Matthews, 3. Walker, 4. Hodgson, 5. Young, 6. Crosbie, 7. Darge, 8. Muncaster, 9. Horne, 10. Thompson, 11. McLean, 12 Tuipolotu, 13. Currie, 14. Hoyland, 15. Smith

    16. Cherry, 17. Schoeman, 18. Fagerson, 19. Cummings, 20. Fagerson, 21. Price, 22. Kinghorn, 23. Bennett.

    Also, looking at the backs, with the injuries to 2 key players and no replacements, it looks quite light in numbers. Who would you have on standby should any injuries occur?

    For me, I would have Chris Dean already there, and James Lang, Cole Forbes & Fin Smith from Worcester already packing some bags for the trip

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