Gregor Townsend calls up seven uncapped for Scotland get-together

Gregor Townsend has called up seven uncapped players for Scotland's pre-season get-together in St Andrews.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNSScotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS

The 41-man squad that will meet up on Sunday for a two-day camp includes Glasgow back-rower Matt Fagerson - the brother of Dark Blues prop Zander - and Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham.

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The duo, who both shone for Scotland’s under-20s as they claimed a best-ever fifth-placed finish at this year’s World Cup, are joined by fellow newcomers Jamie Ritchie, Scott Cummings, Jamie Bhatti, Phil Burleigh and Anton Bresler.

Injured British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg is also among a group of six casualties invited by Townsend to attend the camp.

Townsend is using the camp to begin his preparations for his first three home Tests since taking over from Vern Cotter earlier this summer.

His side face Samoa, New Zealand and Australia at BT Murrayfield and the former Glasgow boss wants to take a closer look at Edinburgh flanker Ritchie and Glasgow forwards Cummings and Bhatti before making his mind up on his final squad.

Gunners centre Burleigh and lock Bresler will also look to stake a claim for their adopted nation as they prepare to qualify for Scotland on residency grounds this autumn.

Also among the group heading to the Fife coast this weekend are Townsend’s five returning Lions - Hogg, skipper Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour, Allan Dell and Finn Russell - after they all saw action during this summer’s tour to New Zealand.

But Hogg - as well as the Glasgow trio Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray and Rob Harley and Edinburgh prop Dell and Worcester’s David Denton - will not take part in the sessions as they each battle back from injuries.

Toulouse lock Richie Gray has remained in France, however, as he concentrates on shaking off a back injury with his club.

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Townsend, said: “This camp is an opportunity to bring the players together who are foremost in our thoughts for the autumn Tests.

“It’s an important step in our preparations for what will be three very tough Test matches. The timing of our get-together, halfway between our last game and when we will meet up again at the end of October, gives us the ideal opportunity to work with players before they begin competitive rugby with their clubs.

“At the moment we have an excellent pool of players from which to choose and we are looking forward to working with this squad next week. There are also a number of players that haven’t been invited to St Andrews that we will be tracking closely to see if they can play their way into our squad for the November internationals.”

He added: “It was great for rugby in this country to see our players emerge from the Lions’ tour with a lot of credit, while the Scotland U20 team had a fantastic junior World Cup.

“We welcome Darcy Graham and Matt Fagerson - two of the stand-out performers in that tournament - into this group. They have both been impressive in pre-season with their respective clubs and they now have an opportunity to get to work alongside the leading players in Scotland and also get a sense of how things operate at Test level.

“It’s a really exciting series of games coming up, especially as two of the games have already sold out, months in advance.

“The players are really looking forward to playing at BT Murrayfield in front of capacity crowds.”