Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 2024 Six Nations Squad Announced

Finn Russell - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Sports
Finn Russell - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Sports

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named a 39-player squad, including four uncapped players and not yet a captain, for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

Following a disappointing World Cup many players will be itching to show that this Scotland squad has something more about it than was shown in France, and with a number of other nations without their big names, Scotland will feel they have a chance to do something (when do we not?!).

This squad is not without changes of its own though, with no spot for Lions Chris Harris, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson. In the centres the call is obviously due to plenty of also in-form alternatives but in the back row where Fagerson, Darge and Dempsey are all short of match fitness and at prop where the cupboard is often bare, it’s a much bolder call.

Loosehead prop Alec Hepburn (30) of Exeter Chiefs qualifies through his father, who was born in Scotland – Hepburn himself was born in Australia – and got the last of his 6 caps for England in 2018 so is now able to switch. Leicester Tigers’ tighthead Will Hurd (24) represented Scotland at under-20 level, qualifies through his grandparents, and was for a time part of Glasgow Warriors wider training group. Although the team announcement listed him as loosehead, he has played tighthead all season so that looks like a typo and will provide valuable backup to Zander Fagerson and the aging WP Nel (sorry WP).

Also newly called up are pacy winger Arron Reed of Sale – who like Hepburn qualifies through his father – and Edinburgh’s Harry Paterson, who can play both at wing and full-back and has been one of the very few young Scotland players who has looked like they could be comfortable on the pro and test stages.

Despite some worries over who would be around after the ding-dong 1872 Cup, Ewan Ashman, Johnny Matthews and George Turner are the named hookers with Dave Cherry perhaps out of Townsend’s favour.

Glen Young returns to the national squad at lock having last been capped against Argentina in 2022 while Jonny Gray remains in exile. Where is Jonny, is he okay?

Rory Hutchinson also returns to the fold for the first time since appearing on the tour to Argentina in 2022 and may be one of the many options Townsend could consider as fullback cover with Blair Kinghorn (like Stuart Hogg often was before him) the only proper 15 available.

Adam Hastings and perhaps even Ben Healy might indeed find that the route to further caps with Finn Russell in fine form. Russell may indeed be the front runner for captain, with the new look back row that seems almost inevitable until Darge is fully fit possibly leaving no room for the incumbent Jamie Ritchie.

Scotland squad for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations (caps in brackets):

Ewan Ashman – Edinburgh Rugby (12)
Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby (5)
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors (34)
Andy Christie – Saracens (4)
Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby (7)
Scott Cummings – Glasgow Warriors (33)
Jack Dempsey – Glasgow Warriors (15)
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors (15)
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby (68)
Richie Gray – Glasgow Warriors (78)
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors (40)
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors (62)
Alec Hepburn – Exeter Chiefs (uncapped)
Will Hurd – Leicester Tigers (uncapped)
Johnny Matthews – Glasgow Warriors (1)
WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby (61)
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby (46)
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby (26)
Sam Skinner – Edinburgh Rugby (30)
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors (40)
Glen Young – Edinburgh Rugby (3)

Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby (27)
Ben Healy – Edinburgh Rugby (4)
George Horne – Glasgow Warriors (26)
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby (39)
Rory Hutchinson – Northampton Saints (8)
Huw Jones – Glasgow Warriors (43)
Blair Kinghorn – Toulouse (50)
Stafford McDowall – Glasgow Warriors  (1)
Harry Paterson – Edinburgh Rugby (uncapped)
Ali Price – Edinburgh Rugby (66)
Cameron Redpath – Bath Rugby (9)
Arron Reed – Sale Sharks (uncapped)
Kyle Rowe – Glasgow Warriors (1)
Finn Russell – Bath Rugby (75)
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors (15)
Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors (22)
Duhan van der Merwe – Edinburgh Rugby (34)
Ben White – Toulon (18)

35 Responses

    1. Mind boggling that Bradbury isn’t included.

      Not enough freshness for me either. This is the problem when your coach stays the same for so long & quibbles with players or opinions on individuals remain the same for many years on the bounce

      1. I have to say I agree. It felt after the losses to Ireland and SA in the World Cup (and yes, I accept that beating either was a massive ask but it was the manner of the losses that was the issue for me) that we needed something to change. I’m not convinced Toonie has it in him to bring about that change. Particularly given we seem to have used the same tactics against Ireland for years despite them not working for us. Change needed and it’ll be interesting to see what happens once Dodson has shuffled off.

  1. Just not excited this time around. Same old mediocre coaching setup …same old inferior forward pack.

    Coaching changes were needed and not made.

    Losses to England , France and Ireland….50/50 chance v Wales …and grinding win v Italy. 4th or 5th finish.

    1. I suspect that it’ll be a case of ‘same old same old’ this 6N, in that we should be in with a good chance of three wins, most likely against England, Wales, and Italy. A win against France, sans Dupont, isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility, but Ireland will be a bridge too far unless Toony radically changes his playbook. It would also help if we could unearth a Scottish-qualified behemoth or two…

  2. Very negative. Players picked on form for a change. Hutchinson deserves to be there. Likewise Christie a bright spot in an underperforming Sarries. Leaving Watson Harris Sutherland out absolutely right call on current form. Pleased for Rowe.
    Only surprise maybe Bradbury.
    Backs look exciting.

      1. I live in Bristol and that is not the perception among Bristol fans. They generally rate him without considering him a stand out it clearly a player demanding international recognition. Bristol are after all buying Mata in.

        Bristol have also generally been honking.

  3. Will we see GTs hand forced and Russell made captain?….cant see anyone else being a stick on for a consistent place other than Z Fagerson.. who can barely manage himself.

      1. I was just about to post and say Finn or Sione, however you beat me to it Rory. It is probably time for Finn to inspire as a captain (though it is still a brave call) . Sione does stand out as frontrunner.

        Huw Jones and Sione were on fire last night. But , will GT see it that way ! will he restrict his options given we have so many outstanding midfields : Rory Hutchinson ,Cam Redpath even Adam Hastings who may be utility back on the bench. I am not sure I get the apathy. From my perspective , it all feels much better than where we started. Yes other nations are moving forward as well, however I feel we are reducing the gap.

  4. I think it is the best squad possible on current form with a couple of interesting additions. Not sure I fully understand the calls for Bradbury. Every game I have watched him this season he is still coming in and out games which given his stature I feel there is still an unfulfilled potential. Delighted to see Hutch back and what a pick between him and Redpath! In the back 3 Reed brings another pace option. Finally think Christie is a starter and brings very decent work rate.

  5. I am excited for this tournament. Coming under the radar and shocking Wales away in the first game, should be v confident there.

    This could be the strongest ever backline.

    Meanwhile there are key players growing into their role in the forwards, namely both Fagersons, and Alec Hepburn at loose head is a steal. Also a 24 year old Leicester tight head, sounds astute.

    Can someone explain, if Bradbury is going so well, why have Bristol signed Mata? I’ve not seen many Bristol games.

    Hope it is something like this:

    White, Russell, DVDM, Redpath, Tui, Graham, Kinghorn. With Jones on the bench. Wow.

    Schoeman, [Matthews], Fagerson
    Gray, [.], Fagerson, Darge, Dempsey. Injury permitting. With Ritchie on the bench. Whether Dempsey is fit or not informs how this pack looks, ideally should be pairing him with M Fagerson at 6.

    Russell for captain, of course. He’s played every league, speaks French and has been performing the role alongside Spencer at Bath really. Most importantly has the profile and charm to talk with refs.

  6. Roebuck & Smith named in the England squad today so that’s the end of those two for us I guess. Fraser Dingwall too

  7. Torn on whether should want LRZ to go well in the NFL? On the one hand, he’s a rugby beast so have to hope he can represent well (without the Wade age excuse); on the other, don’t want others following.

    Irrespective, with LRZ, Farrell, DuPont, Sexton all out – have to question whether other nations have all lost their most important player and will not be there mentally…

    1. His contract was due to expire after RWC 2023, which would have allowed the SRU to bid him adieu without compensation. However, for reasons best known to themselves, the powers that be agreed to extend his contract until 2026. Consequently, if they decide to replace him prior to that then they’re going to take a financial hit – a very unattractive proposition in light of last year’s losses.

      In short, he’s going nowhere unless it’s of his own volition.

  8. It’s really not that great a shock Bradbury isn’t in, he’s not as good as those he is competing with for a place.

    The squad does feel stale, it does all feel the same, but if you have a country which doesn’t really produce Rugby players I don’t really know what else is to be expected, it’s moving deckchairs on the Titanic.

  9. Things always feel a bit flat after a poor World Cup. But tbh we’re in a better position than quite a few other teams for this 6 nations. Our backs with the Finn/ Redpath axis could be dazzling. Let’s get positive, not a bad squad at all. Other than Ireland we’ve a good chance in every match. (Hope we’re working on defence after Ireland sythed through us in Paris….)

  10. For the Wales match I’d stay as close as possible to the starting line up that won last year. We have a brilliant squad throughout the boys that beat Wales last year will clique without thinking and you can’t give away thinking time to any team.

  11. Laghlan McWhanell the blues 2nd row apparently being tapped up the same as Fergus Burke & Mosese Tuipulotu…

  12. Guessing the team might look like this?

    Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, Gray, Gilchrist, M Fagerson, Darge, Dempsey
    White, Russell, van der Merwe, Tuipulotu, Jones, Steyn, Kinghorn
    (Ashman, Bhatti, Nel, Cummings, Crosbie, Horne, Healy, Redpath)

    But perhaps more conservatively, with injury and disciplinary doubts:
    Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, Skinner, Cummings, M Fagerson, Crosbie, Dempsey
    White, Russell, van der Merwe, Tuipulotu, Jones, Steyn, Kinghorn
    (Ashman, Bhatti, Nel, Young, Ritchie, Horne, Healy, Redpath)

    Big selection questions:
    – Is Fagerson suitable to be a starting blindside? He gets through tonnes of work, but is he the kind of imposing, roughhouse character we need? Or does Crosbie provide the necessary grunt to accommodate him?
    – Is Ritchie making the 23? Should we focus on him being an openside for now?
    – Redpath/Tuipulotu or Tuipulotu/Jones?
    – Which of our nines isn’t making the matchday squad?
    – Hooker – can Ashman and Matthews challenge Turner?
    – Do we give our ‘new toys’ a whirl and bring Hepburn or Reed into the 23?
    – If a winger goes down, who steps up – Reed or Rowe?

    Edinburgh made a mistake letting Hoyland go. If Kinghorn picks up a knock then it’s not especially clear who goes to #15. Probably Jones I guess?
    Maybe Healy (what a narrative that would be if it happened vs Ireland), maybe Hastings (but he lacks gametime there more recently), maybe throw Paterson 2 out there? Can Rowe or McCann play 15? If we had Darcy then it’d be him, but alas…

    1. In answer to your questions:
      Ritchie is a natural openside. He definitely makes the 23 and with Darge out for at least the first two games, will probably start.
      Personally I think stick with Tui/Jones at centre, although Redpath should get his chance at some point.
      I think it’ll be “horses for courses” at scrumhalf. Against Wales (away) I’d go for experience to start then pace off the bench, so White misses out. However I’d start him the following week against France! Nice problem to have.
      Whoever is throwing in most consistently accurately should be playing. They can all scrummage, run, tackle, turnover ball, score tries. But our lineout HAS to function to give us a chance in any of the games.
      Think the new boys will get their chance, though probably not in the first game.
      With the wings, depends whether you mean during a game. Not sure I’d have an out-and-out winger on the bench, as Kinghorn, Jones and Horne can all cover there. If DVDM or Steyn is crocked for the next match, I’d probably go with Rowe, although only because I haven’t seen much of the other wings.
      If Kinghorn gets injured I’m pretty sure Jones would go to #15 as he played there for Quins most of the time. With Hastings out I think Ollie Smith will be brought into the squad.

  13. Decent squad but two big concerns for me Goal kicker and hooker
    Non of our 10’s are in good form off the tee. Hornito us deadly from 30m but doesn’t have the range.

    also Turner and Ashman have struggled with their throwing at times this season. Lineout is essential for Scotland, when our lineout goes well we go well. It is our primary platform into the game.
    Matthews is awesome but inexperienced.

  14. Russell might just love kicking this six nations, he’s been at the Rec all season which is a bit too windy. A nice shush in front of the Millenium crowd would be great.

  15. What we are missing more than anything is a totemic player in the forwards. An Alun Win Jones, a Peter O’Mahony or the like. We have some great players in the forwards, but no one that would overly worry the best teams or have the inspiring leadership to make those around him play better.

  16. Townsend has been a very very lucky man to get another crack at 6N.
    We live in optimistic hope rather than any evidence over his tenure that he has the tactical nous, team selection or gameplan to have us a real challengers.
    Still hope is always something to hold onto, you never know.

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