Scotland could use tour to ‘capture’ players on England’s radar

Scotland will name their tour squad today and are likely to use the summer matches to promote youth and ‘capture’ players on the radar of other countries.

Mike Blair, left, will be Scotland's interim head coach on the summer tour while Gregor Townsend is away with the Lions. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The national side, with Mike Blair taking over head coaching duties in the absence of Gregor Townsend, will play an A international against England and Test matches versus Romania and Georgia.

The impressive clutch of young players at Glasgow Warriors is likely to be recognised in the squad, with flanker Rory Darge, stand-off Ross Thompson, winger Rufus McLean and full-back Cole Forbes all putting their hand up for selection in recent weeks.

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Glasgow back Kyle Steyn is expected be return to the squad. Steyn won his first cap as a replacement against France in 2020 then sustained a serious hamstring injury.

There could also be a call-up for Ewan Ashman, the Sale hooker who was named in Scotland’s Six Nations squad this year but remains uncapped.

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Canada-born Ashman’s father is Scottish and he has played for Scotland at age-grade level but he also qualifies for England.

Josh Bayliss, the Bath back-row forward, is another who could feature. The former England under-20 international was called into the Scotland squad in February for the match against France only for the game to be postponed.

He then sustained an injury and had to drop out but is back to full fitness and scored in Bath’s defeat by Harlequins at the weekend.

Townsend will miss the tour because of his involvement with the Lions. Eight senior Scotland players have also been named in the Lions squad for South Africa, opening the door to a number of fringe players to tour with Scotland.

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