An almost exclusively home-based training squad has been selected ahead of the start of this Autumn’s Test match action. The unavailability of players from Premiership or Top 14 sides for the game against Tonga means significant changes from the developmental group that was named for Scotland’s ultimately cancelled fixtures against England ‘A’, Romania and Georgia in the summer.
There are 17 players in and 18 players out from that previous squad. Of those brought in, 10 are senior players returning to the national side; 5 have never previously been involved; and 2 are recalled after extended absences (Murray McCallum and Mark Bennett haven’t played for Scotland since the 2018 Summer Tour – although McCallum was included in squads during the 2019 Six Nations).
- Forwards D’arcy Rae and Callum Hunter-Hill as well as backs Ben Vellacott, Stafford McDowall and George Taylor were late callups in the summer after Covid issues in the squad. None of that quintet have been retained (Rae and Hunter-Hill play for Premiership clubs).
- 14 uncapped players have been selected in the squad of 36.
- Forwards (6) – Pierre Schoeman, Marshall Sykes, Jamie Hodgson, Luke Crosbie, Rory Darge and Dylan Richardson.
- Backs (8) – Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson, Charlie Savala, Sione Tuipulotu, Matt Currie, Cole Forbes, Rufus McLean and Jack Blain.
- Since Gregor Townsend became head coach following the 2017 Six Nations there have been 35 Test debuts for the men’s national side.
- 9 players in the squad made their Scotland debuts prior to Toony taking over – 6 under Vern Cotter, 2 under Scott Johnson and 1 under Andy Robinson.
- Another 6 men have been picked who have won fewer than 10 caps each.
- There is only 1 player in the squad with more than 50 caps to his name – Fraser Brown (54).
Player numbers and game time
- The new faces bring the total included in Scotland men’s squads during the Townsend era to 122.
- The coaches have picked 18 Glasgow Warriors, 17 players from Edinburgh and 1 Exile.
- Ali Price missed out on Summer Tour selection but given no matches went ahead he remains the only player who has played some part in each of the previous series in the Townsend era.
- 84 different players have seen game time in the 45 Tests since Summer 2017.
- No one has featured in every Test since the start of the Townsend era. Ali Price (37 games) has made the most appearances.
- The average age of the squad is 25.9 – slightly older than the Summer Tour selection (25.3).
- The backs’ average age is 24.6 while for the forwards it is 27.1 (Summer Tour – 24.6 for backs and 25.8 for the forwards).
- There are 6 players over the age of 30 with Fraser Brown the eldest at 32.3. The other ‘veterans’ are Robert Harley (31.4), Stuart McInally (31.2), Grant Gilchrist (31.2), Nick Haining (31.1) and Hamish Watson (30.0). There were 3 over 30s in the squad for the Tests in the summer.
- There are 6 players who will be competing to become the first Scotland men’s cap born in the 2000s. Jack Blain, Rory Darge, Rufus McLean and Charlie Savala were born in the year 2000. Matt Currie and Jamie Dobie were born in 2001!
- The squad have combined for 69 Test tries.
- 31 have been scored by forwards, 38 by the backs.
- Stuart McInally is the top scorer in the pack with 10 tries.
- Darcy Graham (9) has the most tries among the backs.
- Apart from George Horne’s solitary conversion against Georgia in 2019, Blair Kinghorn has the only kicked points for Scotland in the squad.
A best guess at how the Depth Chart for the current squad stands ahead of this autumn’s action kicking off: