40-man squad named

Russell welcomed back into the fold by Townsend

Finn Russell

Fall-out: Finn Russell (pic: SNS Group)

Finn Russell’s international exile is over, the playmaker having been recalled to the Scotland squad for the first time since last year’s World Cup.

The Racing 92 star fell out of favour after breaching team protocol in the run up to the Six Nations earlier this year but has settled his differences with head coach Gregor Townsend.

The 28-year-old was named in a 40-man squad for the upcoming series of internationals, with the uncapped Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors), Edinburgh’s Duhan van der Merwe and Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele also getting the nod.

Scotland face Georgia on October 23 before facing Wales away in their final Six Nations match on Saturday, October 31. They will then face Italy away, followed by France and Fiji at Murrayfield between November 14 and November 28, in addition to one final play-off game on December 5.

Glasgow second row Richie Gray is recalled, having last played for Scotland in March 2018, as is club team-mate and flanker Rob Harley.

“We are very much looking forward to coming back together as a coaching and playing group after such an unprecedented and challenging period in our sport and across society in general,” head coach Townsend said.

“There was a strong feeling that we were growing as a team during the Six Nations earlier this year, making progress from game-to-game as well as building closer bonds within the squad. Our aim is to keep this momentum going as we take on Georgia and Wales before competing in the Autumn Nations Cup in November.

“It will be great to see some familiar faces, welcome a few back into our squad and also introduce some new players to Test match rugby.”

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, Scott Cummings, Cornell du Preez, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Rob Harley, Nick Haining, Oli Kebble, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Sam Skinner, Rory Sutherland, Blade Thomson, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg (Captain), George Horne, Damien Hoyland, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang, Sean Maitland, Ali Price, Finn Russell, Scott Steele, Duhan van der Merwe, Duncan Weir.

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