Scotland’s opening fixture of the Rugby World Cup is less than 18 weeks away. The squad for that tournament will consist of just 33 players so the 41-man training group will need to be further pared down – possibly after the third of this summer’s warm-up Tests.
The selection for that tournament has been building over the last couple of years and there’s plenty of consistency in the current squad. In fact, if not for injuries, there’s a case to be made that the only ‘proper’ changes from the initial Six Nations’ squad selected back in January are adding a fourth scrum half in Jamie Dobie and releasing an extra winger.
Jamie Hodgson and Charlie Savala were late call-ups to the squad during the Six Nations but have not been retained.
- 2 players have been selected in the squad of 41 who have yet to be capped by Scotland [Six Nations’ squad – 4 out of 40].
- Forwards – Cameron Henderson.
- Backs – Stafford McDowall.
- Since Gregor Townsend became head coach following the 2017 Six Nations there have been 57 debuts for the men’s national side.
- 21 of the players in the squad have yet to play in an RWC match.
- 11 players in the squad made their Scotland debuts prior to Toony taking over – 8 under Vern Cotter, 1 under Scott Johnson and 2 under Andy Robinson [Six Nations’ squad – 14].
- Another 12 men have been picked who have won fewer than 10 caps each [Six Nations’ squad – 11].
- There are 8 players in the squad with more than 50 Scotland caps to their name – Stuart Hogg (100), Richie Gray (73), Finn Russell (69), Grant Gilchrist (62), Ali Price (61), Zander Fagerson (58), Hamish Watson (57) and WP Nel (54) [Six Nations’ squad – 11]. Stuart McInally is on 47 caps and could reach his half-century during the warm-up matches.
Player numbers and game time
- There are no players involved who have not previously been selected in a full Scotland squad. The total number of players included in Scotland men’s Test squads during the Townsend era is 135.
- The coaches have picked 17 Glasgow Warriors, 12 Edinburgh players and 12 Exiles* [Six Nations’ squad – 15 Glasgow, 10 Edinburgh,15 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).
- Ben Healy’s debut against Italy during the Six Nations made him the 106th different player to have seen game time in Scotland’s Tests since summer 2017.
- No one has featured in all 66 Tests since the start of the Townsend era. Ali Price (56 games) has made the most appearances – 7 more than any other player.
- The average age of the squad is 27.8 [Six Nations’ squad – 28.4].
- The backs’ average age is 27.0 while for the forwards it is 28.5 [Six Nations’ squad – 27.8 for backs and 28.8 for forwards].
- There are 12 players over the age of 30 including Ali Price whose big birthday is in 3 days’ time – happy birthday Ali! WP Nel is the elder statesman at 37 years and 0 months [Six Nations’ squad – 14 over 30s].
- There are 17 players who will be 30 or younger when the 2027 Rugby World Cup kicks off, including 5 players born in the 2000s – Ewan Ashman, Rory Darge, Jamie Dobie, Cameron Henderson and Ollie Smith. Dobie is the youngest in the squad (21 years and 11 months) [Six Nations’ squad – 13].
- The squad have combined for 179 Test tries.
- 50 have been scored by forwards, 129 by the backs.
- Duhan van der Merwe is top try scorer in the Townsend era with 17, narrowly head of his wing partner Darcy Graham on 16.
- Stuart McInally (11) has the most tries among the forwards during the last 6 years.
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 RWC warm-up matches:
* although Edinburgh are already claiming the 3 Exiles (Ewan Ashman, Ben Healy and Javan Sebastian) who have signed for them for next season!