Gregor Townsend’s first selection for a Six Nations is a mixture of one eye on the here and now and one on continuing to develop for the future (with a hefty dollop of necessity being the mother of invention in one or two positions!) Here’s the On Top Of The Moon summary of who’s in and who’s out since the squad for the Autumn Tests was finalised.
Toony originally named a 36-man group for the November series before adding 2 more players (Rory Sutherland and Magnus Bradbury) in the week prior to the first game against Samoa. This time out there are 40 names in the selection.
There are 12 players in and 10 players out with, rather symmetrically, 5 players returning from injury and 5 moving out of the squad due to injury.
There are also 2 players who were injury replacements or late additions to the Autumn Test squad who have not subsequently been retained:
Neil Cochrane (replaced Ross Ford before Samoa game)
Fraser Brown [injured] (added to squad before Australia game)
- 4 uncapped players have been selected in the squad of 40. Gregor Townsend has already handed out 6 debuts during his time as Scotland coach.
- Another 11 men have been picked who have less than 10 caps each.
- John Barclay (63), Richie Gray (64), Greig Laidlaw (58) and Stuart Hogg (55) are the only players with over a half century of caps
Player numbers and game time
- 6 players are selected for the first time by Toony taking the total included in his 3 squads so far to 63.
- The head coach has picked 16 Exiles, 23 Glasgow Warriors and 24 players from Edinburgh.
- Only 15 players have been in all 3 of Townsend’s squads.
- 46 different players have seen game time in Gregor’s 6 Tests so far – 21 from Glasgow, 14 from Edinburgh and 11 Exiles.
- Just 5 players have featured in every one of the 6 Tests that Toony has taken charge of – Zander Fagerson, Ben Toolis, John Barclay, Ali Price and Henry Pyrgos. JB is the only one to start all 6.
- While the Warriors continue to dominate minutes for the national side the presence of so many Edinburgh players in the wider squads suggest there’s a possibility of a re-balancing between the contribution of the two sides over the coming seasons.
- The average age of the squad is 27.1.
- The backs and forwards have an almost identical average of 27.2 and 27.1 respectively.
- There are 5 players over the age of 30. Scott Lawson is 4 years older than anyone else in the squad. The other ‘veterans’ are Greig Laidlaw (32), John Barclay (31), Jon Welsh (31) and Gordon Reid (30). Ruaridh Jackson will join the 30+ club during the 6 Nations with his birthday falling the day after the France game.
- Blair Kinghorn is the youngest member of the squad, aged 20 when the selection was announced – although he will be 21 by the time the tournament kicks off.
- The squad have combined for 106 Test tries.
- 21 have been scored by forwards, 85 by the backs.
- John Barclay is the top scorer in the pack with 5 tries.
- Stuart Hogg (17) and Tommy Seymour (16) have provided almost a third of the squad’s total try-scoring ouput.
- Hoggy only needs 3 more points to join the ranks of Scotsmen with 100 or more points in Test rugby to their name. The most recent addition was Finn Russell who became the 14th man on the list with his haul against Australia in the Autumn.
Here’s the squad analysed by position (and in an best guess at Toony’s thinking, Depth Chart style…)
Picture credit to the ever expanding rugbypeople.net – give them a follow on Twitter!