Scotland’s 2023 Six Nations’ squad – ins and outs

A huge year looms for Scotland and it all kicks off with the Six Nations. With the proximity of the Rugby World Cup in mind, it’s no real surprise to see a fair amount of continuity in the latest squad selection. 6 of the 9 players out are due to injuries. 2 of the 9 players brought in were late call-ups to the Autumn Nations Series with a further 3 being veterans of multiple Scotland squads across the Townsend era and earlier.

Jamie Hodgson, Callum Hunter-Hill and Glen Young were late callups to the squad in the autumn but have not been retained.

Caps

  • 3 uncapped players have been selected in the squad of 40, plus Ruaridh McConnochie who has yet to make his Scotland debut but has 2 caps for England [Autumn Tests’ squad – 2 out of 40].
    • Forwards – Cameron Henderson.
    • Backs – Ben Healy, Stafford McDowall.
  • Since Gregor Townsend became head coach following the 2017 Six Nations there have been 56 debuts for the men’s national side.
  • There are a further 5 players who have yet to feature in a Six Nations’ match – Ewan Ashman, Luke Crosbie, Jack Dempsey, Javan Sebastian and Ollie Smith.
  • 14 players in the squad made their Scotland debuts prior to Toony taking over – 8 under Vern Cotter, 4 under Scott Johnson and 2 under Andy Robinson [Autumn Tests’ squad – 11].
  • Another 11 men have been picked who have won fewer than 10 caps each [Autumn Tests’ squad – 13].
  • There are 11 players in the squad with more than 50 Scotland caps to their name – Stuart Hogg (96), Jonny Gray (72), Richie Gray (69), Finn Russell (65), Grant Gilchrist (59), Ali Price (58), Fraser Brown (57), Hamish Watson (54), Zander Fagerson (54), Sean Maitland (53) and WP Nel (50) [Autumn Tests’ squad – 7, plus WP Nel who reached that milestone during November].

Player numbers and game time

  • Ben Healy and Ruaridh McConnochie are the only new faces in a full Scotland squad. They bring the total included in Scotland men’s Test squads during the Townsend era to 134.
  • The coaches have picked 15 Glasgow Warriors, 15 Exiles and 10 Edinburgh players [Autumn Tests’ squad – 16 Glasgow, 14 Edinburgh,10 Exiles].
  • 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).
  • Murphy Walker’s appearance as a replacement against Fiji in the autumn made him the 105th different player to have seen game time in Scotland’s Tests since Summer 2017.
  • No one has featured in all 61 Tests since the start of the Townsend era. Ali Price (53 games) has made the most appearances – 8 more than any other player.

Age

  • The average age of the squad is 28.4 [Autumn Tests’ squad – 27.5].
  • The backs’ average age is 27.8 while for the forwards it is 28.8 [Autumn Tests’ squad – 26.5 for backs and 28.3 for forwards].
  • There are 14 players over the age of 30 with WP Nel the elder statesman at 36 years and 8 months [Autumn Tests’ squad – 10 over 30s].
  • There are 13 players who will be 30 or younger when the 2027 Rugby World Cup kicks off, including 3 players born in the 2000s – Ewan Ashman, Cameron Henderson and Ollie Smith. Smith is the youngest in the squad (22 years and 5 months) [Autumn Tests’ squad – 16].

Scoring

  • The squad have combined for 152 Test tries.
  • 43 have been scored by forwards, 109 by the backs.
  • With the Townsend era’s top try scorer (Darcy Graham – 16) missing, Duhan van der Merwe is the player in the current squad who has notched the most 5-pointers during this period (14).
  • George Turner (8) has the most tries among the forwards during the last 5½ years.

And Finally

Here is OTOTM’s best guess (with the emphasis on the guess!) at how the Depth Chart for the current squad stands ahead of the Six Nations’ action kicking off:

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