Gregor Townsend names 38-man Six Nations squad, with Stuart Hogg to be captain
Gregor Townsend has named six uncapped players in his Six Nations squad, with star full-back Stuart Hogg to captain the side in the tournament which begins at the start of next month.
The fresh faces are the Glasgow Warriors trio Tom Gordon (back-row), Kyle Steyn (wing / centre) and Ratu Tagive, the Australian wing who qualifies for Scotland on the old three-year residency rule. They are joined by Edinburgh back-row pair Luke Crosbie and Nick Haining, with Gloucester’s former Scotland U20 lock, Alex Craig, completing the group.
The squad also features the return of Edinburgh pair Matt Scott (centre) and Rory Sutherland (prop) – who last featured for Scotland in victories on the road over Australia (2017) and Japan (2016) respectively – as well as Worcester Warriors back-row, Cornell du Preez, who earned his most recent of six caps against Wales in 2018.
On the appointment of 27-year-old Hogg, who is the most experienced player in the squad with 72 caps, as captain, Townsend said: "Stuart is very passionate about playing for Scotland and he’s determined to do all he can to improve Scotland. He really cares about playing for his country, what the jersey represents and also getting the best out of his team-mates.
“He’s a really intelligent rugby player who’s is learning and improving with every season. He’s very good at bringing others into the game and building relationships with those around him.
“He’s very well respected by our coaching and playing group but that isn’t based on the accolades he’s earned. It’s more about what he does every day at training.
“He brings energy, is very accurate, he stays out to longer to work on his game and more often than not he’s the loudest player on the field, guiding or congratulating his teammates.
“He really wanted to take on the honour and responsibility of being captain, which was a huge positive and – having heard his plans for how he would work as a captain and work to bring the best out of others, while being able to focus on his own game – meant it became a relatively straightforward decision."
On the new faces, Townsend added: “We’ve put a bigger emphasis on form as a guide for our selection, with those picked backed to go out and grab their opportunity.
“A number of young players have broken through at their clubs, while the bulk of the squad [23/31] from Japan has been reselected based on some strong individual performances and huge effort throughout our World Cup camp.
“We’re on to our next campaign now and it’s going to be very tough given the competition we face. Ireland have only lost one championship game at home in the last five years, and England were in great form in Japan.
“It’s a great focus for everyone when you’ve got Ireland away and England at home for your first two games. The focus has to be on the future and how we find a way to win those games.
There are some real quality players who have missed out on selection, either through injury or the form of others in the group and I’m sure they’ll continue to knock hard on the squad selection door throughout the Six Nations period.
“It’s a positive that we’ve depth in the number of positions and more players available to play than we did this time last season so let’s hope that continues over the duration of the tournament.”
SCOTLAND SQUAD for 2020 Guinness Six Nations
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps
Alex Craig (Gloucester) – uncapped
Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
Allan Dell (London Irish) – 28 caps
Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 6 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 40 caps
Tom Gordon (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps
Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 33 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 35 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 14 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN – 72 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 3 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 44 caps
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 9 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 49 caps
Matt Scott (Edinburgh) – 39 caps
Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Ratu Tagive (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped