THE Rugby World Cup dream is over for seven players after they were cut from Scotland’s extended squad yesterday.
Glasgow Warriors’ pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned to Scotstoun having won their first caps against Italy in Saturday’s 16-12 win in Turin.
Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland (wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will all return to Edinburgh. Hoyland and Watson both played in Turin.
Glasgow hooker Kevin Bryce, who had been brought in as cover, also returns to his club.
Following a 28-22 loss in Dublin and Saturday’s first win of the year against the Italians, those remaining in the 40-strong pool will have a final chance to press their claims for a place in Vern Cotter’s final 31-man squad, due to be announced on 1 September, in this weekend’s third warm-up Test, at home to Italy.
Cotter, said: “I’d like to thank the players for all their hard work throughout what has been a very tough pre-season campaign. Their commitment to improving as individuals and to our collective endeavour has been exceptional, and has made this a very tough decision.”
“They are understandably disappointed to miss out at this stage. However, they have done themselves proud with their performances in training and the two Test matches.”
He added: “The nature of Test rugby is that we may need to call upon any of these players at any given time during our journey to and through what will be a very tough Rugby World Cup campaign, so we’ll continue to monitor their performances at club level very closely.”
Glasgow back-row Josh Strauss, who becomes eligible for Scotland just four days before their tournament opener against Japan in Gloucester, has also been released back to his club with a view to getting game time before being considered for the World Cup squad.