Damien Hoyland unlucky to be one of five sent home early from Scotland tour

Of the five players being sent home early from Scotland’s tour of South America, Damien Hoyland is the one likely to feel most aggrieved.

Damien Hoyland scored a hat-trick against Chile but is heading home early from Scotland's tour of South America. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Damien Hoyland scored a hat-trick against Chile but is heading home early from Scotland's tour of South America. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The Edinburgh winger could not have done much more in the tour opener, scoring a hat-trick in the A international against a full Chile side.

Despite his heroics in the 45-5 win in Santiago, Hoyland is back on an early flight alongside uncapped trio Ben Muncaster, Matt Currie and Johnny Matthews, and the lock forward Jamie Hodgson.

It was always head coach Gregor Townsend’s intention to trim his squad ahead of the three-Test series with Argentina, which begins on Saturday in San Salvador de Jujuy.

He has travelled to the north of the country with a squad of 34 following the five departures. Three of the uncapped players who featured against Chile - full-back Ollie Smith, prop Murphy Walker and lock Glen Young - have retained their places, along with another uncapped player, the London Irish winger Kyle Rowe, who was ineligible for the tour opener.

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Hoyland has had a wretched time with injuries in recent seasons but Townsend praised him after the Chile game.

“He played really well and worked hard and got on ball a few times and he finished really well,” said the coach. “It was a great finish for him to reach out and score his second try.”

Nevertheless, it has not been enough for the 28-year-old to be given the opportunity to add to his four caps, the last of which was won five years ago.

In the absence of Stuart Hogg and Huw Jones, Hoyland’s ability to also play at full-back might have persuaded Townsend to retain him but the coach has decided to go with Smith as his only orthodox 15. Darcy Graham has played there before for club and country and Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson is another who could fill in.

Speaking before the tour, Townsend said he now sees Blair Kinghorn as very much a stand-off despite the player’s previous international experience at full-back.

The coach will name his team for the first Test against Argentina at lunchtime.

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