SCOTT Johnson has named his first 35-man training squad for the RBS Six Nations Championship, so who do you think he will pick, or who would you pick, to face England at Twickenham on 2 February?
Scotsman rugby writer David Ferguson starts the debate by giving us his selection.
“This is the one question I am asked more than any other at this time of year and there is invariably a difference between who I might want to see in the squad, and who I think the coach will opt for.
“For example, I think Scott Johnson may select Jim Hamilton for his power and Edinburgh youngster Grant Gilchrist on the bench, because he wants to bring young players through. As much as I agree that Gilchrist is a quality player who needs exposure this year, Al Kellock’s qualities are too often underestimated. He is a stand-out leader for Glasgow and Scottish team. His experience and ability to run the lineout well and to make the right decisions at key times under pressure could be crucial at Twickenham.
“Hamilton remains a quality, experienced player too and if not starting is a player who could add serious impact in the second half. The lineout is going to be a crucial battleground, one where Scotland can dominate and they are likely to need it to function well in every quarter if they are to win.
“I would like to see youth given a chance in this championship, but on top of the ten uncapped players we have ten others in the squad who only made their Test debuts last season and are still feeling their way, and first-up at Twickenham is arguably a more intense pressure-pot than any. Richie Gray is still finding his feet after a move south, with nearly three years in international rugby.
“But I’ll let you pick over the rest of it. This is purely a team to face England and, as ever, for all of our limited choices, we have plenty to debate, which is a good sign.”
DAVID FERGUSON’S SCOTLAND XV v ENGLAND
S Hogg; S Maitland, S Lamont, M Scott, T Visser; R Jackson, G Laidlaw; R Grant, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock (capt), K Brown, R Harley, J Beattie.
Subs: D Hall, A Dickinson, G Cross, J Hamilton, D Denton, H Pyrgos, T Heathcote, M Evans.
Do you agree ?
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