There are a whopping 40 names in Gregor Townsend’s selection for Scotland’s 4 tests coming up in November as the head coach takes a look at some possible bolters for RWC selection in less than a year’s time. Here’s the On Top Of The Moon summary of who’s in and who’s out since the initial selection for the Summer Tests.
Toony originally named a 33-man group for the matches in June against Canada, USA and Argentina. 12 of those players haven’t returned – half through injury – and there are 19 additions – 10 of them being men who are back from injury or who were rested over the summer.
There are also 3 players who were injury replacements or late additions to the Summer Tests’ squad who have not subsequently been retained:
Grant Stewart (added to squad before the tour began)
Charlie Shiel (replaced Ali Price after Canada)
Mark Bennett [injured] (replaced Alex Dunbar before the tour began)
- 3 uncapped players (Sam Johnson, Sam Skinner and Blade Thomson) have been selected in the squad of 40. Gregor Townsend has already handed out 16 debuts during his time as Scotland coach.
- Another 13 men have been picked who have less than 10 caps each.
- Ross Ford (110) and Greig Laidlaw (63) are the only players with over a half century of caps.
Player numbers and game time
- 3 players are selected for the first time by Toony taking the total included in his squads since June 2017 to 75.
- The head coach has picked 30 Glasgow Warriors, 26 players from Edinburgh and 19 Exiles.
- Only 5 men (Fraser Brown, Peter Horne, Lee Jones, Ali Price and Ben Toolis) in the current squad have played some part in each of Gregor’s previous series in charge (Summer 2017, Autumn 2017, Six Nations 2018, Summer 2018).
- 62 different players have seen game time in the head coach’s 14 Tests so far – 24 from Glasgow, 21 from Edinburgh and 17 Exiles.
- No-one has featured in all of Toony’s tests. Ali Price and Peter Horne (12 matches each) come closest.
- The average age of the squad is 27.2.
- The backs and forwards have very similar averages of 27.4 and 27.1 respectively.
- There are 7 players over the age of 30. Ross Ford is a year and a half older than anyone else in the squad. The other ‘veterans’ are Greig Laidlaw (33), Willem Nel (32), Gordon Reid (31), Tommy Seymour (30), Sean Maitland (30) and Lee Jones (30).
- At 20 years old Matt Fagerson is the youngest member of the group by 18 months. Matt was just 6 when squad mate Ross Ford made his Test debut for Scotland…
- The squad have combined for 104 Test tries.
- 28 have been scored by forwards, 76 by the backs.
- Ross Ford is the top scorer in the pack with 5 tries.
- Tommy Seymour (16), Huw Jones (10) and Sean Maitland (9) have provided more than a third of the squad’s total try-scoring ouput.
- During the Toony Test era Scotland’s hookers have scored as many tries as their wingers – 13. Particular kudos must go to recently departed forwards coach Dan McFarland for his work on the national side’s lineout and mauling game which is where most of the number 2s’ scores came from. Hopefully Danny Wilson will build on these strong foundations.
Here’s the squad analysed by position (and in an best guess at Toony’s thinking, Depth Chart style…)
Picture credit to rugbypeople.net – a superb site covering all levels of Scottish rugby.
Thomson seems to be mainly quoted at 8?
Other than Skinner the only surprise is Peter Horne ahead of James Lang. Horne has been poor this season.
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Think Thomson can play lock, blindside and 8 equally well which will make him a very handy addition. With Barclay out it’s the 6 shirt that really needs filling and I think Thomson will push Bradbury for that role.