With the Rugby World Cup looming head coach Gregor Townsend has named a 42-man squad to prepare for the tournament. This group will then be trimmed down to the 31 players that will travel to Japan.
Here’s the On Top Of The Moon summary of who’s in and who’s out since the initial Six Nations’ selection.
Toony originally named a 39-man group back in January. 9 of those players haven’t returned and there are 12 additions, including 9 players who were injured at the start of the Six Nations.
There were another dozen players who were involved at some stage during the Six Nations who have not subsequently been retained in the squad:
- Prop – Murray McCallum
- Back row – Luke Crosbie, Rob Harley, Matt Smith
- Half backs – Duncan Weir
- Centre – Alex Dunbar, James Johnstone, Stafford McDowall, Kyle Steyn
- Back 3 – Dougie Fife, Rory Hughes, Ruaridh Jackson
- 3 uncapped players (Rory Hutchinson, Grant Stewart and Blade Thomson) have been selected in the squad of 42. Gregor Townsend has so far handed out 22 Test debuts during his time as Scotland coach.
- Another 11 men have been picked who have less than 10 caps each.
- 27 of those selected have never featured in a Rugby World Cup.
- There are 5 players with at least a half century of caps – John Barclay (71), Greig Laidlaw (71), Stuart Hogg (67) Jonny Gray (51) and Tommy Seymour (50).
Player numbers and game time
- Rory Hutchinson is the only player who has never been involved in a Townsend-era Scotland squad. That takes the total included in Toony’s squads since June 2017 to 88.
- Only 4 men (Fraser Brown, Peter Horne, Ali Price and Ben Toolis) in the current squad have played some part in each of Gregor’s previous series in charge (Summer 2017 & 2018, Autumn 2017 & 2018, 6 Nations 2018 & 2019).
- 68 different players have seen game time in the head coach’s 23 Tests so far.
- No-one has featured in all of Toony’s tests. Peter Horne and Ben Toolis (18 out of 23 matches each) come closest.
- The average age of the squad is 27.2 (Six Nations – 26.9).
- The backs are slightly younger than the forwards with averages of 27.0 (6N – 26.6) and 27.4 (6N – 27.2) respectively.
- There are 7 players over the age of 30. Greig Laidlaw is the elder statesman at 33. The other ‘veterans’ are Willem Nel (32), John Barclay (32), Josh Strauss (32), Gordon Reid (32) Tommy Seymour (30) and Sean Maitland (30).
- Another 6 players will turn 30 between now and the end of the RWC – Ryan Wilson, Fraser Brown, Henry Pyrgos, Byron McGuigan, Duncan Taylor and Peter Horne.
- At 20 years old Matt Fagerson is the baby of the squad. In all there are 9 players who will be 31 or younger when the 2027 tournament kicks off and who could have two more RWC cycles in them after Japan.
- The squad have combined for 129 Test tries.
- 33 have been scored by forwards, 96 by the backs.
- John Barclay and Stuart McInally are the top scorers in the pack with 6 tries each.
- Tommy Seymour (19), Stuart Hogg (19), Sean Maitland (11) and Huw Jones (10) and have provided just under half of the squad’s total try-scoring output.
- Jones, McInally, Maitland and Blair Kinghorn (6 each) are the top try scorers of the Toony Test era.
Here’s the squad analysed by position and in a best guess (with an accent on the guess!) at Toony’s thinking, Depth Chart style…
And here are the other players who have been involved in one of Gregor Townsend’s squads who are not involved in the RWC training squad…
The missing 5 from the 88 selected by Toony are players who have retired (from Test rugby only in one case):
- Neil Cochrane
- Ross Ford
- Scott Lawson
- Richie Vernon
- Tim Visser