01 Sep Cotter names 31-man Scotland squad
Head Coach Vern Cotter today named scrum-half Greig Laidlaw as captain of the 31-man Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The announcement, which was made to the attending public and media at the University of Edinburgh Old College Quad, features a balance of 17 forwards and 14 backs.
Three of the group – Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Sean Lamont – are set for their third outing in the competition, while a further three – Richie Gray, Alasdair Strokosch and Richie Vernon – approach a second.
Vernon will be the first player to be selected for Scotland in a Rugby World Cup as both a forward and a back, adding to his 2011 appearance as a number 8.
We’re very pleased to name the 31 and we’re confident these players will represent Scotland well in the Rugby World Cup.
“It’s been a tough but rewarding two months. We’re proud of the effort everyone has put in to this point.
“Getting down to 31 has been a difficult process because all the players have represented themselves well in the opportunities given.
“There are some good players and good people who haven’t made it. We obviously feel for them and would like to thank them for all their efforts, however we must now move forward to our last preparation match against France before embarking on our Rugby World Cup campaign.”
Scotland face France in Paris this Saturday (5 September, kick-off 8pm UK time) – live on BT Sport – in the final preparatory match before the Rugby World Cup, where they are drawn against Japan, USA, South Africa and Samoa in Pool B.
Scotland will open their Rugby World Cup account against Japan at Kingsholm Stadium on Wednesday 23 September (kick-off 2.30pm).
They will then travel north to Leeds to face USA at Elland Road (Sunday 27 September), followed by South Africa and Samoa on consecutive Saturdays (3 and 10 October) at St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Cotter added: “We felt the split of 17 forwards and 14 backs gives us the best balance.
“We have two games in four days followed by South Africa and Samoa, so we need to be robust and covered in both forwards and backs, while knowing we have players in the group who can play several positions.
“We’ll now concentrate our efforts on this group to fine tune a couple of things in detail.
“There are fine margins in this sport at this level so we have to make sure we have got everything ticked off as best as possible, through our organisation, our work-rate and a raft of other details that we’ll work through methodically.
“We know the Rugby World Cup is not far away, and we’re very excited about the event, for which we’re working very hard to perform, do well and represent the thistle on the world stage.”
SCOTLAND SQUAD: RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby); 46 caps; 4 RWC appearances (2007 & 2011)
Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors); 23 caps
Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors); 11 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby); 2 caps
Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons); 6 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors); 9 caps
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby); 88 caps, 8 RWC appearances (2007 & 2011)
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby); 2 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby); 10 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); 14 caps
Richie Gray (Castres); 45 caps; 4 RWC appearances (2011)
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors); 12 caps
David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby); 27 caps
John Hardie (Unattached); 1 cap
Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors); uncapped
Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan); 45 caps; 3 RWC appearances (2011)
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors); 10 caps
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby); 7 caps
Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester); 40 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors); 16 caps
Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors); 10 caps
Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors); 19 caps
Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors); 8 caps
Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors); 10 caps
Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby); 28 caps
Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors); 22 caps, 3 RWC appearances (2011)
Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors); 96 caps, 8 RWC appearances (2007 & 2011)
Sean Maitland (London Irish); 15 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); 17 caps
Tim Visser (Harlequins); 20 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); 33 caps
SCOTLAND MATCH SCHEDULE
Ireland 28-22 Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Italy 12-16 Scotland, Stadio Olympico, Turin
Scotland 48-7 Italy, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday 5 September: France v Scotland, Stade de France (kick-off 8pm BST) – live on BT Sport
RWC 2015 Pool stages:
Wednesday 23 September: Scotland v Japan, Kingsholm (kick-off 2.30pm)
Sunday 27 September: Scotland v USA, Elland Road (kick-off 2.30pm)
Saturday 3 October: South Africa v Scotland, St James’ Park (kick-off 4.45pm)
Saturday 10 October: Samoa v Scotland, St James’ Park (kick-off 2.30pm)
Scheduling of knock out rounds determined by performance in the Pool stages
Rugby World Cup tickets are still available from tickets.rugbyworldcup.com.