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NatWest 6 Nations Championship

Townsend names four new faces in squad

Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw is back in the Scotland squad for the NatWest 6 Nations but not as captain


Head coach Gregor Townsend today named four uncapped players in a 40-man Scotland squad for the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship.

The potential debutants are Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn (full-back), scrum-half Nathan Fowles and prop Murray McCallum, plus Glasgow Warriors prop D’arcy Rae.

Kinghorn, McCallum and Rae are all graduates of the BT Sport Academy.

The squad is also boosted by the return of several experienced players absent from recent campaigns, including scrum-half Greig Laidlaw (ASM Clermont Auvergne), lock Richie Gray (Toulouse), centres Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby) and Duncan Taylor (Saracens); and Worcester Warriors back-row David Denton.

Laidlaw, Gray and Bennett haven’t featured for the Dark Blues since last year’s championship, while it was 2015 when returning prop Jon Welsh last saw international action and longer still for veteran hooker Scott Lawson (2014).

A sequence of untimely injuries has meant Denton has been absent from test duty since the 2016 summer tour to Japan, while Taylor and London Irish prop Gordon Reid missed the 2017 autumn test campaign with a knee and head injury respectively.

Scarlets back-row John Barclay will continue to captain the side since taking on the mantle from Laidlaw in last year’s championship, leading Scotland to victories in six of nine test matches.

Townsend said: “It’s a bigger squad than we originally planned – which is largely down to the competition for places – with a number of players having performed well in the Autumn Tests and a few others putting their hands up for selection in recent weeks.

“We welcome Blair Kinghorn into our group for the first time, who has been in excellent form with Edinburgh this season, and also three of our most experienced players in Richie Gray, Greig Laidlaw and Scott Lawson.

“We are looking forward to working with them and the rest of the squad to ensure that we build on the momentum the players generated in 2017.”

SCOTLAND SQUAD

BACKS (19)

Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby) – 20 caps
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 1 cap
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Greig Laidlaw (ASM Clermont Auvergne) – 58 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 29 caps
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 2 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 27 caps
Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 39 caps
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 21 caps
Nathan Fowles (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped

FORWARDS (21)

John Barclay CAPTAIN (Scarlets) – 66 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps
David Denton (Worcester Warriors) – 35 caps
Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 18 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Richie Gray (Toulouse) – 64 caps
Luke Hamilton (Leicester Tigers) – 1 cap
Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) – 46 caps
Murray McCallum (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps
Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 27 caps
D’arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 7 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 15 caps
Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons) – 11 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps

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