Scotland Rugby Test Squad Named: 5 Uncapped Players Included

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 22, 2013

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Scotland coach Scott Johnson applauds his players before the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield Stadium in Scotland, United Kingdom  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Head coach Scott Johnson has included Glasgow Warriors’ Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray and Chris Fusaro, as well as London Irish duo Kieran Low and Blair Cowan in Scotland's 41-man training squad for the Autumn rugby internationals.

Per the SRU, the quintet are handed their first calls, while veterans Ross Ford, Chris Cusiter and John Barclay have been recalled after missing the summer tour of South Africa through injury.

Backs Nick De Luca and Max Evans, meanwhile, also earn recalls as Johnson examines his options.

Johnson told the SRU website:

This squad is about getting the job right for our upcoming Test matches but it’s also about the next 24 months as we build towards Rugby World Cup 2015.

As I said during the tour we need and want to expand our playing pool and within that we have to be clear on which of our long-experienced players will make the journey to the World Cup.

We have to make sure, too, that our young players, who have the ability to play international footy, get the mileage on the clock ahead of the World Cup.

Both New Zealand-born flanker Cowan and England youth international Low qualify for Scotland via either parents or grandparents and will be evaluated by Johnson and his staff.

/Getty Images

The coach also disclosed that Scotland A coach Shade Munro would join his coaching staff for the training camp, with a view to some players dropping into the second-string squad ahead of a fixture with England Saxons.

Wins over Italy and Ireland in the Six Nations helped Scotland to a creditable third place in the competition earlier this year—their best result since the competition's expansion.

However, summer defeats to Samoa, twice, and South Africa in the absence of their Lions players will have left Johnson in no doubt as to the need for increased depth ahead of coming Tests.

The Scots will play three Tests in the coming weeks against Japan (Nov. 9), South Africa (Nov. 17) and Australia (Nov. 23), with the minimum expectation a win against the Samurai Warriors in the first encounter.

If Scotland are to have any chance of a good performance at the World Cup in New Zealand in two years' time, they must start to achieve results against the Southern Hemisphere nations when playing at home.


Scotland Training Squad for Autumn Internationals


Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors).

John Barclay (Scarlets), John Beattie (Montpellier), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Montpellier), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Kieran Low (London Irish), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors).

Invited to Train with Squad

Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie (both Edinburgh Rugby).

head coach Scott Johnson