26 Oct Ten uncapped players named in Scotland Autumn Test squad
Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named ten uncapped players in a 36-man Scotland squad for next month’s Autumn Tests.
The national squad check in to camp next week and begin the 2017/18 season against Samoa at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 11 November – the only match for which tickets are still available – followed by tests against New Zealand and Australia, which sold out in July.
The uncapped group features four backs and six forwards, with centres Phil Burleigh (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), wing Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) and scrum-half Nathan Fowles (Edinburgh Rugby) joined by front-row trio Jamie Bhatti, George Turner (both Glasgow Warriors) and Darryl Marfo (Edinburgh Rugby), Glasgow Warriors lock Scott Cummings and back-row forwards Luke Hamilton (Leicester Tigers) and Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby).
Bhatti, Burleigh, Cummings and Ritchie were involved in the senior Scotland squad in the summer camp in St Andrews, while Turner was also an uncapped tourist in the summer, so the selection stands as something of a recall, however it’s a first involvement for the remaining five.
Other notable inclusions sees full-back Stuart Hogg and wing Tommy Seymour return to the Scotland set-up, having missed the summer tour due to British & Irish Lions selection, while centre Huw Jones and Stuart McInally come back, having missed out on the summer tour through injury.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend, said: “The players selected have worked exceptionally hard at their clubs to earn inclusion in the national squad and we’re looking forward to working with them throughout the autumn series.
“They will need to intensify their efforts further still to earn the opportunity and honour of play in front of capacity crowds in what are three exciting fixtures.
“We’re facing two of the world’s top three sides after a significant challenge from Samoa in our opening game. It will be an excellent challenge for our players.”
Former Glasgow Warriors back, McGuigan (28) played for Scotland 7s in 2012, making six tournament appearances.
He earned one Scotland A cap in 2014, scoring in the side’s 16-16 draw with England Saxons at Scotstoun. He joined current club Sale Sharks in 2016 and is joint top try-scorer in this season’s English Premiership.
Prop Darryl Marfo (26) has impressed at Edinburgh Rugby since arriving from Bath at the start of the season, featuring in every game so far this season. Born in London, he is eligible to play for Scotland through his mother, who is from Ayr.
Former Wales U20 player Hamilton (25) – whose father is from Stirling – joined Leicester in the summer of 2016 after two seasons in France with Agen, winning the Pro D2 in his first season.
He joined the Tigers last year and impressed in his recent starts in both of the club’s European Champions Cup matches on the openside flank.
Fowles (24) joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2015, initially on a three-month loan from Sale Sharks, before committing to the club full-time ahead of the 2015/16 season, making 40 appearances so far.
Carlisle-born Harris (26) is a product of the Newcastle Falcons Academy and has played 57 times for the club since his 2014 debut, starting all but one of the club’s matches in a season that sees them currently placed fourth in the English Premiership.
He is eligible for the national team through his grandmother from Edinburgh.
Scotland 2017 Autumn Tests
Saturday 25 November – Scotland v Australia, BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm)
Unavailable through injury: Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors), Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell, Alasdair Dickinson (both Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Gordon Reid (London Irish), Matt Scott (Gloucester), Duncan Taylor (Saracens).