Scotland player analysis part 4: A squad for Japan 2019

We’ve looked at the current international squad. We’ve looked at those who missed out on RWC 2015 selection. We’ve considered some of the brightest prospects coming through. Now it’s neck on the line time to pick a possible squad to take on the world in Japan in 2019! Starting XV selections are in bold:

Back 3:

Analysis – Part 1

  • Stuart Hogg
  • Sean Maitland
  • Robbie Nairn
  • Tommy Seymour
  • Damien Hoyland

Centres:

Analysis – Part 1

  • Alex Dunbar
  • Mark Bennett
  • Matt Scott
  • Peter Horne

Stand offs:

Analysis – Part 2

  • Finn Russell
  • Blair Kinghorn

Scrum halves:

Analysis – Part 2

  • Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
  • Henry Pyrgos
  • George Horne

Back row:

Analysis – Part 2

  • Cornell Du Preez
  • Hamish Watson
  • Nasi Manu
  • Hugh Blake
  • David Denton

Second rows:

Analysis – Part 3

  • Jonny Gray
  • Richie Gray
  • Grant Gilchrist
  • Scott Cummings

Props:

Analysis – Part 3

  • Rory Sutherland
  • WP Nel
  • Gordon Reid
  • Zander Fagerson
  • Alex Allan

Hookers:

Analysis – Part 3

  • Stuart McInally
  • Fraser Brown
  • Fergus Scott

The split of 14 backs and 17 forwards is the same as in the 2015 selection. 17 of the players were in the original squad for the most recent RWC (and Rory Sutherland was called in to replace Ryan Grant but hasn’t been capped yet) plus another 4 were in the extended panel and just missed out. The most returning players Scotland have ever had was 18 who featured in both the 2007 and 2011 tournaments so the numbers look reasonable in terms of turnover. 9 of the squad members selected haven’t yet been capped. Considering Scotland have averaged 33 new caps in each of the last 3 RWC cycles it’ll be a surprise if the players mentioned don’t get an opportunity to stake a claim over the next 4 years.

The average age of the squad will be 27.5 years – right in between the youthful 26.7 years of the 2015 group and the 28.3 of the Dad’s Army who travelled to New Zealand in 2011. Scotland had the least experienced squad (in terms of Tests played) among all Tier 1 nations at this year’s World Cup and it’s crucial that the 31 that make it to Japan have as many caps as possible behind them. With less than 1,000 likely be available across the next 4 years ideally these will only be shared out among a core group of 50-60 players rather than the 70-80 used in the previous RWC cycle.

Players will undoubtedly move between now and the next tournament but as it stands 16 of those picked for this hypothetical squad currently ply their trade with Glasgow, 12 are attached to Edinburgh and 3 earn their corn in exotic foreign locations (such as Castres and erm…Reading).

This is a squad with power, pace and skill. What they really need to learn before the next World Cup is some composure and how to win regularly against other Tier 1 nations. Thanks for reading, sayonara and see you in Japan!


So what are your thoughts? Who would you like to see in the 2019 RWC squad? And what are our chances of improving on the showing at this year’s tournament?


Picture courtesy of Adrian Henry. Visit Rugby People for more of Adrian’s fine work.

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