Scotland’s squad for the Six Countries is equipped on Wednesday with the Calcutta Cup opener against England on 6 February looming big.
A peculiar 2020 started slowly for Gregor Townsend’s males, picked up with a bustle of wins, and ended significantly anti-climactically with losses to France and Ireland.
All of which became indisputably interrupted with a worldwide pandemic.
There are inclined to be few shocks in the community chosen for the Six Countries, significantly given its dimension. On the other hand, there are some key positions which might maybe well maybe recent a big gamble for avid gamers to destroy in.
- Scotland v Wales to be in the wait on of closed doorways
- Drift-half Keatley joins Glasgow
- Kinghorn is of the same opinion new Edinburgh deal
Hooker has been a establish whereby Scotland had been blessed with depth in newest seasons, with Stuart McInally and Fraser Brown both taking turns at being Townsend’s most traditional option.
On the other hand, Brown is out for the match while McInally is a doubt for at the least the opening match against England as both fight with neck injuries, leaving a fresh different for others to invent their place.
Glasgow’s George Turner is in overall third need and, given solid newest place for his membership, will completely be the #1 own for the amount two establish.
“I judge George is a brilliant rugby participant,” his crew-mate Brown mentioned on BBC Radio Scotland after the 1872 Cup match on Saturday.
“He hits look after no one else, he hits look after a steam practice. Most ceaselessly it’ll hurry too far, but I are privy to it be one thing he’s truly labored on in the final couple of years.
“He’s a solid ball carrier, his lineout has come on a heck of a succesful distance, his scrummaging is accumulated bettering.”
If Turner is the head candidate, who fills the different two spots? Edinburgh’s Dave Cherry has been in simply place that season, and might maybe well maybe replicate Brown and McInally’s breakdown prowess, having won seven turnovers in the Edifying14 this season, which locations him in the stay five in the league.
Grant Stewart is yet every other Warriors hooker who has proven promise, while Leicester’s Jake Kerr has also been chosen by Townsend previously, but has handiest played as soon as this season.
Quantity eight conundrum
One of many few positions up for serious debate thru the initiating XV to play England is amount eight. It be Scottish rugby’s hot matter.
“I establish hoping that Magnus Bradbury is going to step up a limited bit more, but he doesn’t get the ball ample for me,” primitive Scotland prop Peter Wright mentioned on BBC Radio Scotland.
“Matt Fagerson’s yet every other one. We establish speaking that we’d like a amount eight who can get his hands on the ball and be desirous a pair of huge section of the game.”
Bradbury and Fagerson is in overall in the squad, with Blade Thomson, Nick Haining and Cornell du Preez the others to had been integrated in the autumn. But Gary Graham is a participant who will completely be in competition this time, given his displays for high-flying Newcastle in the English Premiership.
Scotland’s lack of physical edge when in contrast with countries look after England is in overall talked about and Graham, an all-action, combative, ball carrying amount eight, is just not any longer somebody who might maybe well maybe even be with out problems misplaced sight of.
No longer renowned of the Autumn Countries Cup squad, he would enjoy the likelihood so that you just can add to his two caps and Scotland might maybe well maybe raise out along with his abrasiveness. Yet every other to throw into the combine is Ryan Wilson, who appears to be like to be to be out of the nationwide portray, but his consistency for Glasgow has been very safe and will advantage a remove.
Various runners & riders
There are a pair of others who did no longer feature in the autumn who might maybe well maybe perchance be in with a cry of being in the squad, and even pressure their draw into the matchday 23 for the England sport.
Richie Gray has establish newest injuries in the wait on of him to flip in some beautiful person performances for Glasgow. He became a big presence in the lineout when the Warriors faced Edinburgh at Murrayfield, and became influential in the reverse fixture at Scotstoun.
Yet every other second row who might maybe well maybe sneak in is Glen Young of Harlequins, having agreed to be half of Edinburgh next season. At 6ft 7ins excellent, the 26-twelve months-historical is yet every other solid lineout operator and gets thru an affect of work on the discipline, ranking in the stay five for tackles made in the Premiership this season.
Then in the backs, there is Rory Hutchinson who became injured for the length of the autumn. Scotland lacked creativity from midfield against Ireland and France, and the Northampton Saints participant affords the glide and talent to begin up defences.
Bathtub’s inner centre Cameron Redpath, son of primitive Scotland scrum-half Bryan, is yet every other shaded horse but is yet to dispute his allegiance having represented England at Below-20 level, and been chosen by Eddie Jones for the tour of South Africa in 2018 before pulling out thru hurt.