Gregor Townsend names 38-man Six Nations squad, with Stuart Hogg to be captain

Gregor Townsend has named his training squad for the Six Nations, which start with a trip to Ireland on 1 February. Picture: SRU.SNS
Gregor Townsend has named his training squad for the Six Nations, which start with a trip to Ireland on 1 February. Picture: SRU.SNS
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Gregor Townsend has named six uncapped players in his Six Nations squad, with star full-back Stuart Hogg to captain the side in the tournament which begins at the start of next month.

The fresh faces are the Glasgow Warriors trio Tom Gordon (back-row), Kyle Steyn (wing / centre) and Ratu Tagive, the Australian wing who qualifies for Scotland on the old three-year residency rule. They are joined by Edinburgh back-row pair Luke Crosbie and Nick Haining, with Gloucester’s former Scotland U20 lock, Alex Craig, completing the group.

The squad also features the return of Edinburgh pair Matt Scott (centre) and Rory Sutherland (prop) – who last featured for Scotland in victories on the road over Australia (2017) and Japan (2016) respectively – as well as Worcester Warriors back-row, Cornell du Preez, who earned his most recent of six caps against Wales in 2018.

On the appointment of 27-year-old Hogg, who is the most experienced player in the squad with 72 caps, as captain, Townsend said: "Stuart is very passionate about playing for Scotland and he’s determined to do all he can to improve Scotland. He really cares about playing for his country, what the jersey represents and also getting the best out of his team-mates.

“He’s a really intelligent rugby player who’s is learning and improving with every season. He’s very good at bringing others into the game and building relationships with those around him.

“He’s very well respected by our coaching and playing group but that isn’t based on the accolades he’s earned. It’s more about what he does every day at training.

“He brings energy, is very accurate, he stays out to longer to work on his game and more often than not he’s the loudest player on the field, guiding or congratulating his teammates.

“He really wanted to take on the honour and responsibility of being captain, which was a huge positive and – having heard his plans for how he would work as a captain and work to bring the best out of others, while being able to focus on his own game – meant it became a relatively straightforward decision."

On the new faces, Townsend added: “We’ve put a bigger emphasis on form as a guide for our selection, with those picked backed to go out and grab their opportunity.

“A number of young players have broken through at their clubs, while the bulk of the squad [23/31] from Japan has been reselected based on some strong individual performances and huge effort throughout our World Cup camp.

“We’re on to our next campaign now and it’s going to be very tough given the competition we face. Ireland have only lost one championship game at home in the last five years, and England were in great form in Japan.

“It’s a great focus for everyone when you’ve got Ireland away and England at home for your first two games. The focus has to be on the future and how we find a way to win those games.

There are some real quality players who have missed out on selection, either through injury or the form of others in the group and I’m sure they’ll continue to knock hard on the squad selection door throughout the Six Nations period.

“It’s a positive that we’ve depth in the number of positions and more players available to play than we did this time last season so let’s hope that continues over the duration of the tournament.”

SCOTLAND SQUAD for 2020 Guinness Six Nations

FORWARDS (21)

Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 24 caps

Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) – 15 caps

Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 11 caps

Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps

Alex Craig (Gloucester) – uncapped

Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh) – uncapped

Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps

Allan Dell (London Irish) – 28 caps

Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 6 caps

Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps

Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 40 caps

Tom Gordon (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped

Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps

Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – uncapped

Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 33 caps

Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 35 caps

Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 14 caps

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 3 caps

Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 22 caps

George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps

Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 28 caps

BACKS (17)

Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 11 caps

Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 14 caps

Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps

Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN – 72 caps

George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps

Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 3 caps

Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps

Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps

Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 17 caps

Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 44 caps

Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 9 caps

Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps

Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) – 28 caps

Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 49 caps

Matt Scott (Edinburgh) – 39 caps

Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped

Ratu Tagive (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped