25 Oct Cotter names Autumn Test squad
Head Coach Vern Cotter today named a 31-man Scotland squad for the forthcoming 2016 Autumn Test matches against Australia, Argentina and Georgia next month.
The squad features four additions and five replacements to the group that secured back-to-back wins over Japan in Toyota and Tokyo in June.
Prop Zander Fagerson and Olympic silver medal winning centre Mark Bennett join the group, having represented Scotland U20 and Team GB during the summer.
Edinburgh Rugby lock Grant Gilchrist has long since recovered from injury to add options to the second-row, while the form of back-row Hamish Watson has merited inclusion, intensifying the competition among the loose forwards.
Harlequins wing Tim Visser and Glasgow Warriors trio Finn Russell, Alex Dunbar and Rob Harley, are like-for-like replacements for Sean Lamont, Ruaridh Jackson, Matt Scott and the injured David Denton (hamstring), with Dunbar and Visser reversing their late replacement by Scott and Lamont ahead of the Japan tour.
The group is completed by the inclusion of uncapped 24-year-old Edinburgh Rugby prop Allan Dell after it was confirmed that club mates Willem Nel and Rory Sutherland have both been ruled out of the forthcoming Autumn Tests.
Nel exacerbated an ongoing neck complaint in his club’s Challenge Cup win over Harlequins on Saturday and will require a period of rest, while Sutherland suffered an untimely groin injury in the build-up to the same match, with Dell starting – and scoring the club’s first of six tries – in his place.
The results of a scan at Spire Murrayfield Hospital yesterday (Monday) are expected to inform the extent of Sutherland’s injury and rehabilitation programme in the coming days.
Cotter said: “This is an important season for this group of players who are determined to be successful in a Scotland jersey, and have a clear will to win.
“We have a big emphasis on how we play in front of our home crowd and have three exciting challenges facing us this November.
“As always we will focus on doing the simple things consistently well, while also adding some fine detail to improve our skill sets and continue the progress of this team.”
The Scots will face the Wallabies for the first time since the 35-34 Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat at Twickenham this time last year in the first of the traditional three-Test series, that begins on Saturday 12 November.
Next up will be World Cup semi-finalists Argentina on Saturday 19 November, before the Scots complete the sequence with an historic Test against Georgia on Saturday 26 November, at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, the first Test between the two nations on Scottish soil.
A further four players have been invited to train with the squad: Back-row Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby), centre Nick Grigg, wing Rory Hughes and scrum-half Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors).
Not considered through injury: Adam Ashe (foot), Kevin Bryce (shoulder), David Denton (hamstring), Ryan Grant (back), Willem Nel (neck), Rory Sutherland (groin), Duncan Weir (jaw).
2016 Autumn Tests:
- Saturday 12 November: Scotland v Australia, BT Murrayfield (kick-off 2.30pm)
- Saturday 19 November: Scotland v Argentina, BT Murrayfield (kick-off 5pm)
- Saturday 26 November: Scotland v Georgia, Rugby Park (kick- 2.30pm)
Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 58 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) – 34 caps
Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 99 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
Richie Gray (Toulouse) – 58 caps
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 24 caps
John Barclay (Scarlets) – 52 caps
John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps
Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester) – 53 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
Huw Jones (Stormers) – 1 cap
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 18 caps
Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 23 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 26 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 45 caps