With 7 Tests and an ‘A’ fixture still to play in 2022 plus 8 or 9 games next year prior to the World Cup, Scotland are definitely on the down slope towards France 2023. This summer presents some of best remaining development opportunities for the national side.
There are 12 players in and 11 out from the initial selection of 39 named for the Six Nations. Those brought in are a mix of prospects (including 5 uncapped players) and senior squad members returning after missing some or all of the matches in February and March.
- Nine other players were also included in the Scotland squad for part of the Six Nations but have not been retained for the Summer Tour:
- Props – Simon Berghan, Allan Dell, Oli Kebble
- Hooker – Fraser Brown
- Lock – Kiran McDonald, Marshall Sykes
- Centre – James Lang
- Back 3 – Jordan Edmunds, Sean Maitland
- 6 uncapped players have been selected in the squad of 40 [Six Nations squad – 5 out of 39].
- Forwards – Ben Muncaster, Murphy Walker and Glen Young.
- Backs – Matt Currie, Kyle Rowe and Ollie Smith.
- Since Gregor Townsend became head coach following the 2017 Six Nations there have been 51 Test debuts for the men’s national side.
- 10 players in the squad made their Scotland debuts prior to Toony taking over – 8 under Vern Cotter and 2 under Scott Johnson.
- Another 14 men have been picked who have won fewer than 10 caps each [Six Nations’ squad – 10].
- There are 3 players in the squad with more than 50 Scotland caps to their name – Jonny Gray (67), Grant Gilchrist (58) and Ali Price (51) [Six Nations’ squad – 3].
- Hamish Watson (49) and Zander Fagerson (47) could also bring up their half-centuries during the Summer Tour.
Player numbers and game time
- Matt Currie (who had previously been included in a training group) and Ben Muncaster are the only completely brand new faces in a full Scotland squad. They bring the total included in Scotland men’s Test squads during the Townsend era to 129.
- The coaches have picked 14 players from Edinburgh, 14 Glasgow Warriors and 12 Exiles [Six Nations’ squad – 15 Exiles, 13 Edinburgh, 11 Glasgow].
- Ali Price is the only man who has played some part in each of the previous series during Gregor Townsend’s time in charge (Price was unavailable for selection in the 2021 Summer Tour squad but, ultimately, no games went ahead).
- Against Italy during the Six Nations, Ben Vellacott became the 100th different player to have seen game time in Scotland’s Tests since Summer 2017.
- No one has featured all 54 Tests since the start of the Townsend era. Ali Price (46 games) has made the most appearances – 6 more than any other player.
- The average age of the squad is 26.2 [Six Nations’ squad – 26.9].
- The backs’ average age is 25.7 while for the forwards it is 26.6 [Six Nations’ squad – 26.5 for backs and 27.2 for forwards].
- There are 3 players over the age of 30 with skipper Grant Gilchrist the eldest at 31.9. The other veterans are David Cherry (31.4) and Hamish Watson (30.7) [Six Nations’ squad – 6 over 30s].
- There are 18 players who will be 30 or younger when the 2027 Rugby World Cup kicks off, including 6 players born in the 2000s – Ewan Ashman, Matt Currie, Rory Darge, Rufus McLean, Ben Muncaster and Ollie Smith. Muncaster is the youngest in the squad (20.7).
- The squad have combined for 105 Test tries.
- 32 have been scored by forwards, 73 by the backs.
- Darcy Graham is the top scorer in the Townsend era with 12 tries.
- George Turner (7) has the most tries among the forwards.
Here is OTOTM’s best guess (with the emphasis on the guess!) at how the Depth Chart for the current squad stands ahead of this summer’s action kicking off:
The Depth Chart would suggest that the starting lineup for the ‘A’ fixture versus Chile could be along these lines (alternatives in brackets where Exiles might not be released in time):
15. Ollie Smith
14. Damien Hoyland
13. Matt Currie
12. Sione Tuipulotu
11. Kyle Rowe (Rufus McLean)
10. Ross Thompson
9. George Horne (c)
1. Jamie Bhatti
2. Ewan Ashman (David Cherry)
3. Murphy Walker
4. Jamie Hodgson
5. Glen Young
6. Luke Crosbie
7. Andy Christie (Magnus Bradbury)
8. Ben Muncaster