17 Aug Scotland squad named for August camp
Head Coach Gregor Townsend will take a 41-man Scotland squad into a two-day camp in St Andrews this Sunday.
The national squad will begin the 2017/18 season against Samoa at BT Murrayfield this November, the only match for which tickets are still available in the Autumn Tests, after the New Zealand and Australia matches sold out early last month (July).
Among the group are seven uncapped players, five of whom have developed through the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy.
Back-row Matt Fagerson – an academy player aligned to Glasgow Warriors – and Edinburgh Rugby wing Darcy Graham recently helped Scotland U20 to a highest-ever finish of fifth in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in June.
They are joined by fellow academy graduates back-row Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), lock Scott Cummings and prop Jamie Bhatti (both Glasgow Warriors), as well as Edinburgh Rugby pair Phil Burleigh (centre) and Anton Bresler (lock), who are available to represent Scotland on residency grounds this autumn.
The squad also welcomes the return of five players from the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, three of whom missed the entirety of Scotland’s summer tour – Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Lions’ top try-scorer Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg (both Glasgow Warriors).
Hogg is part of a group of six injured players – which includes Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby), David Denton (Worcester Warriors), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) and Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – who have also been invited to attend the camp.
Injured Toulouse lock Richie Gray (back) has been excused from travelling to St Andrews in order to aid his recovery with his club.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend, said: “This camp is an opportunity to bring the players together who are foremost in our thoughts for the Autumn Tests.
“It’s an important step in our preparations for what will be three very tough test matches. The timing of our get-together, halfway between our last game and when we will meet up again at the end of October, gives us the ideal opportunity to work with players before they begin competitive rugby with their clubs.
“At the moment we have an excellent pool of players from which to choose and we are looking forward to working with this squad next week. There are also a number of players that haven’t been invited to St Andrews that we will be tracking closely to see if they can play their way into our squad for the November internationals.”
He added: “It was great for rugby in this country to see our players emerge from the Lions’ tour with a lot of credit, while the Scotland U20 team had a fantastic junior World Cup.
“We welcome Darcy Graham and Matt Fagerson – two of the stand-out performers in that tournament – into this group. They have both been impressive in pre-season with their respective clubs and they now have an opportunity to get to work alongside the leading players in Scotland and also get a sense of how things operate at test level.”
Looking ahead to the Autumn Tests, Townsend added: “It’s a really exciting series of games, especially as two of the games have already sold out, months in advance.
“The players are really looking forward to playing at BT Murrayfield in front of capacity crowds.”
Scotland squad for 2017 August camp:
Injured players invited to camp: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby), David Denton (Worcester Warriors), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)
Not considered through injury: Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh)
Scotland 2017 Autumn Tests
Saturday 11 November – Scotland v Samoa, BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm)
Saturday 18 November – Scotland v New Zealand, BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm)
Saturday 25 November – Scotland v Australia, BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm)