Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Our World Cup Squad Prediction

The Scottish Rugby Team - © Autumn Nations Series/Inpho Photography
The Scotland squad line up - © photo courtesy Autumn Nations Series/Inpho Photography

On this week’s Patreon exclusive podcast we chat through our predicted World Cup squads and come up with the definitive Scottish Rugby Blog predicted squad.

The final squad is not who we would take but who we think Gregor Townsend will pick following the World Cup Warm up games.

To listen to the full reasons for our selections and omissions you can subscribe to our Patreon podcast. We’ll be putting out more Patreon exclusive episodes in the run up to the World Cup warm up games.

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Z Fagerson, P Schoeman, WP Nel, R Sutherland, M Walker, Jamie Bhatti.


G Turner, E Ashman, D Cherry.

Second row

R Gray, S Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, C Henderson**

Back row

J Ritchie, H Watson, M Fagerson, J Dempsey, R Darge, A Christie**

Scrum half

A Price, B White, G Horne.

Fly half

F Russell, B Kinghorn, B Healy.


H Jones, S Tuipolotu, C Harris, C Redpath.

Back three

D Graham, D van der Merwe, K Steyn, S Hogg.


** Either of these may be swapped our for Sam Skinner

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31 Responses

  1. Forwards – Skinner Crosbie Sebastian in for Watson Christie and Walker.
    Need Skinner and Crosbie for the “heavy lifting”, Walker not ready.

    Backs – Hastings in for Harris
    Harris adds nothing, Hastings is a very good ball player, Kinghorn back 3 only, Steyn a very capable 13

    Still have reservations about Hogg, I praying he proves me completely incorrect and his old magic helps us qualify from the pool stages.

    1. Agree with the 3 forward swaps. And yes, while Harris did a necessary job for a while, we haven’t leaked like a sieve without him and Jones has improved considerably in his defending. Hastings is a flexible alternative for Harris, can cover 10, 12 (if really necessary) & 15, though I think McDowall has had a great season, shown leadership qualities and does have a good boot as well as being able to cover 12 & 13. BK should go, definitely, but as FB. I guess squad selection will be easier post RWC without the current Hogg dilemma – I’m sure he’ll be in the 33 as he’s hard to drop, while simultaneously beginning to lose that automatic selection quality- just hope it isn’t to the detriment of the rest of the squad.

    2. Steyn barely plays 13 anymore for Glasgow and never has for Scotland. We need to be able to give Jones and Tuipulotu a break before the last game.

      Harris definitely doesn’t “add nothing”. At the very least offers solidity in defence, familiarity with the system and experience (was on the lions tour let’s not forget). Him and Redpath are a very able second choice centre pair.

      1. We’ll agree to differ, sir, IMO Harris gets in the way, any attacking move “stops” when the ball reaches him. McDowall has been good this year so he’s an option for centre

      2. I’d pick McDowell. He can play 12 or 13 and is familiar with both Jones and Tuipolutu.

      3. Harris is not a gifted attacking threat like Jones but that’s not all of rugby. He has plenty of other attributes and a, shall we say, “direct” style that has worked quite nicely with Redpath the couple of times they’ve played together.

        Can agree to disagree though as you say.

        I like Mcdowall but would be amazed if he makes it. Had a good season though; mad that Danny Wilson left him out in the cold for so long.

      4. I think McDowall was injured much of Danny’short time, he is too good to leave out but that is what will happen IMO. Harris will go to strengthen the second string. Tonga with an ex All Blacks hybrid wont be easy for inexperienced players and he will bring lots of stability.

      5. I think the second string will only be needed against Romania.

        There’s two weeks between SA and Tonga, then followed on successive Saturdays by Romania and Ireland. So eminently feasible for the strongest side to play SA, Tonga and Ireland and the second string should be good enough to beat Romania.

        Tonga are too much of a risk to field a much weakened side. Everyone knows they’ve tooled up their back three and midfield with Piatau, Folau, Fekitoa, Moala but more importantly their pack will be strengthened with Tameifuna, so we can’t assume superiority in the scrum, and Fifita, who is a real x-factor player. I think we’ll beat them but it’s an obvious banana skin if we can’t open up a decent lead and they sniff an upset.

      6. Tonga have actually just announced their squad for RWC warm up tests. It features

        Forwards: Ben Tameifuna, Adam Coleman, Vaea Fifita, Lopeti Timani

        Backs: Augustine Pulu, Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Israel Folau, Charles Piutau

        That is a lot of top level experience to bring into the side.

      7. FF: Sound logic, few would argue with it, but I think the sequence of play has little to do with it. Tonga will be hitting hard, injury will happen, the bench will have first team replacements, but injury is the flaw in the sequencing argument. Why risk an injury ! To re-enforce that point , if we lose a tighthead , we are stuffed.

      8. It’s a fair point but I think we will need to risk first team injuries against Tonga to ensure we win. They’ll be a major banana skin – filled with players with top level experience. If we field a weakened side we will invite a humiliating upset.

        There’s been some chat about whether Tonga will be targeting us. I’d argue not especially as I don’t think they are turning up to get a tier 1 upset and pat themselves on the back. I think they will believe they can qualify and that means most likely winning their first game up against Ireland then beating us. We don’t take that threT seriously at our peril.

      9. This pool is impossible. It is probably the kind of pool WR need to bring an edge to what has traditionally been a predictable tournament in the pools. It would be no bad thing if Ireland beat SA before we meet them in the final game. Do Ireland have a second string !

  2. Need Crosbie in there. Blair at 15 and not 10. If Finn, Hogg, Darcy, DVM and Kyle are all fit then we’ve got a chance. Need big games from them but bigger from the forwards.

  3. I can see Skinner and Crosbie being selected over Henderson and Christie, but other than that, unless Toonie decides to do away with the consistency he showed in the 6N I can’t really argue with your picks.

  4. All Embra fans will tell you that Crosbie offers more than Christie.
    I expect no-one to agree but I would take Dobie instead of Horne (nobody runs a better support line but passing and kicking from hand are not at the same level and were poor at end of season).
    Hastings (experience and versatility) instead of Healy, allowing Kinghorn to be back three player and/or supersub.

    1. North……Dobie is/was very close to making “my” squad. Horne is brilliant in the loose but offers little control. (In fact I reckon Cooney is the 1st/2nd best SQ9) .
      Healy and Hastings should travel, both are excellent players

  5. Pretty decent squad. My changes below:

    Henderson -> Skinner

    Open mind on this one, though. Haven’t seen enough (read:any) of Henderson so don’t know what he offers exactly.

    Christie -> Crosbie

    Either is fine really but Crosbie offers a bit of a different option in added height and aggression.

    Healy -> Hastings

    Experience mainly as we’re essentially picking this spot for the all-change Romania game. Hastings has been a starting 10 for Scotland and Glasgow and will be the much more seamless fit for the 2nd XV. Has played a lot with Price and Horne (one of whom will likely be at 9 in that game).

    Kinghorn -> Back 3

    Please. Stop enabling the “Kinghorn is a 10” thing.

    1. I have to say I agree with ALL your changes, Tryhard.
      Think Toonie will pick his most experienced players/squad, and Skinner, Crosbie and Hastings all fit the bill. None of Henderson, Christie or Healy are significantly better than their more experienced replacements, to warrant a place.
      Whether Kinghorn is picked as the third 10, or fifth back-3, he’ll be going.

  6. I like Christie and I’ve been wanting to see him involved far more with Scotland. As I understand it his point of difference is his chop tackle which as Wales have shown can be very effective against South Africa. But surely he’d have been given more game time if he’s part of a specific WC plan?

  7. I’m betting we beat South Africa (first up) then struggle to beat Tonga, beat Romania comfortably then get trounced by Ireland (who had just lost to the Springboks).
    Therefore doing the Scottish thing and getting knocked out on BPs or points difference.
    Although that would be bitterly disappointing it’s probably the best outcome we can expect.

    1. I think we will have a close loss to the Springbocks, a nervous win against Tonga, 60+ points on Romania (George Horne hat-trick) . Then get Dominated and outsmarted in devastating fashion by Ireland (15points)and be out the WC.

  8. Aren’t you missing 1-2 players from the Back 3? Where is the 15 back-up – no Ollie Smith?

    Defo think Skinner should be going ahead of one of Christie or Henderson – we need his experience and class and versatility.

    I’d have Hastings in for sure – BK to Back3 cover, and Finn / Hastings / Healy as our FH’s.

    Otherwise, looks good. What happened to Oli Kebble!?

    1. Avoided the Group of Death.
      La Rochelle and Stade Francais (the ERC holders, 2nd and 4th in Top14)
      Leinster and Stormers (ERC runners up, 1st and 3rd in URC)
      Leicester and Sale (2nd and 3rd in Premiership).
      Arguably 6 of the top 10 sides in Europe in one group.
      Not sure how they do the draw but that puts Scotland’s RWC draw into perspective.

  9. Mercer, Smith, Roebuck & Dingwall all left out the final England squad today… Gregor get on the blower…

    1. None of them would make our final WC squad either, despite being good players.

      1. Mercer would walk into the squad. Roebuck IMO would also get into our squad.

    1. Yes he is he qualifies through residency he went to school in Scotland and spent enough years here consecutively to qualify for selection now

      1. Nope. He has two England caps so can only represent a team who he has a grandparent or parent link. So he could play for NZ but not Scotland.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion