Stern Vern hasn’t really been one for dramatic changes to the Scotland squad since he settled on a core group for the RWC. Here’s the On Top Of The Moon summary of who’s in and who’s out since the initial summer squad was named on 9th May 2016.
There are also a couple of players who were brought into the Summer Tests squad as injury replacements who have not subsequently been retained:
Matt Scott (replaced Alex Dunbar before the tour began)
Sean Lamont (replaced Tim Visser before the tour began)
- 7 of those selected have less than 10 caps. Alan Dell is the only uncapped player.
- Almost half the squad (15 players) have between 10 and 25 caps. These players are likely to form the core of the squad for Japan 2019 and most should be sitting with 25 to 40 caps by that stage.
- Only 5 players have over a half century of appearances – Ross Ford has the most with 99 and will bring up his ton the next time he plays for the national side.
- Alasdair Dickinson has more caps than the rest of the props combined.
- Stuart Hogg is the most capped outside back in the squad with 45.
21 of the players selected were also included in Cotter’s squad for the RWC just over 12 months ago. The players who have missed out from that point are:
Injured – Ryan Grant, WP Nel, David Denton, Duncan Weir, Richie Vernon
Retired – Al Strokosch
Omitted – Jon Welsh, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont
So it’s definitely more evolution rather than revolution from Big Vern with Zander Fagerson and Huw Jones the only new players he has called up since the RWC campaign (Alan Dell was part of the extended training group for that tournament although he didn’t play in any of the warm up matches). Cotter has though included some additional players to train with the squad with one eye on the future – Magnus Bradbury, Ali Price, Nick Grigg and Rory Hughes. It will be interesting to see if Gregor Townsend shakes things up dramatically when he takes over in the summer or if he continues to tweak the squad gradually in the build up to the next World Cup.