The squad selected by Gregor Townsend is the smallest group he has gone with for a Six Nations since taking over in 2017. Coronavirus protocols and bubbles will make things more challenging but there may well still be opportunities for some of the players who have been omitted (including those recovering from injury) to feature in the latter rounds.
There are 10 in and 15 out from the squad that was initially selected for the Tests played in the Autumn:
- Young guns Rufus McLean and Rory Darge (who played for Scotland u20s during last year’s Six Nations) as well as Jamie Dobie (still young enough to play for the u20s this year) have been invited to train with the squad.
- Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Ratu Tagive were also involved for part of the Autumn series but are not included this time round.
- 4 uncapped players (Ewan Ashman, David Cherry, Alex Craig and Cameron Redpath) have been selected in the squad of 35. Gregor Townsend has so far handed out 31 Test debuts during his time as Scotland coach.
- Another 9 men have been picked who have won fewer than 10 caps each.
- 7 of those selected have never played a match in the Six Nations – including all 4 hookers.
- There are 5 players in the squad who have won a half century of caps – Stuart Hogg (80), Richie Gray (65), Jonny Gray (61), Finn Russell (51) and Sean Maitland (50).
Player numbers and game time
- Cameron Redpath is selected for the first time by Toony taking the total included in his squads since June 2017 to 99.
- The head coach has picked 15 Exiles, 11 players from Edinburgh and 9 from Glasgow Warriors.
- With Ben Toolis omitted it means that Ali Price is the only member of the current squad to have played some part in each of Gregor’s previous series in charge (Summer 2017, Autumn 2017, 6 Nations 2018, Summer 2018, Autumn 2018, Six Nations 2019, Summer 2019, RWC warm-ups 2019, RWC 2019, Six Nations 2020, Autumn Tests 2020).
- 81 different players have seen game time in the head coach’s 40 Tests so far.
- No-one has featured in all of Toony’s tests. Ali Price and the injured Stuart McInally (32 games each) have made the most appearances.
- The average age of the squad is 27.5 (Autumn Tests – 27.9).
- The backs’ average age is 27.4 while for the forwards it is 27.6 (Autumn Tests – 27.0 for backs and 28.6 for the forwards).
- There are 10 players over the age of 30 with Willem Nel the eldest at 34. The other ‘veterans’ are Sean Maitland (32), Byron McGuigan (31), Richie Gray (31), Duncan Taylor (31), Grant Gilchrist (30), Blade Thomson (30), Simon Berghan (30), Chris Harris (30) and David Cherry (30).
- This will be the first time that Matt Fagerson (22) has been in one of these initial squad selections and not been the youngest member of the group. Both Cameron Redpath (21) and Ewan Ashman (20) were born after the Glasgow number 8.
- The squad have combined for 109 Test tries.
- 27 have been scored by forwards, 82 by the backs.
- George Turner is the top scorer in the pack with 6 tries.
- Stuart Hogg (20), Sean Maitland (15) and Huw Jones (10) have provided more than 40% of the squad’s total try-scoring output.
- Maitland is the equal top try scorer of the Toony Test era (alongside the absent Stuart McInally) with 10 tries.
A best guess at how the Depth Chart for the current squad stands ahead of the tournament kicking off at the beginning of February: