Scotland squad for summer tour: Gregor Townsend's selection dilemmas for Chile and Argentina

Gregor Townsend is likely to include a smattering of uncapped players when he names his squad on Wednesday for Scotland’s summer tour of South America.

Head coach Gregor Townsend will name his Scotland tour squad on Wednesday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Head coach Gregor Townsend will name his Scotland tour squad on Wednesday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The main course is a three-Test series against Argentina in July but with an appetiser of an A international against Chile on June 25 Townsend will have the opportunity to blood some untried talent.

There are also likely to be recalls for some of the high-profile omissions from his original Six Nations squad, including Adam Hastings and Huw Jones.

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The national coach was reluctant then to stray from the tried and trusted but he may view this as an opportunity to tinker.

Townsend has proved adept at persuading dual qualified players to commit to Scotland and it will be intriguing to see if the likes of Worcester stand-off Fin Smith and Gloucester scrum-half Charlie Chapman are included.

Both were born in England but Smith is the grandson of former Scotland and Lions prop Tom Elliot and Chapman has already played for Scotland Under-20s.

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Edinburgh’s strong season under Mike Blair is likely to be reflected in their providing the biggest contingent of players. Mark Bennett’s renaissance should see him on the plane alongside young(er) guns like Luke Crosbie, Ben Muncaster, Marshall Sykes and Jamie Hodgson.

By contrast, Glasgow’s dismal run may give Townsend pause for thought before picking the likes of Rufus McLean, Ross Thompson and Ollie Smith.

Long-term injuries to Jamie Ritchie, Rory Darge, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Kyle Steyn and Nick Haining are likely to rule them out and there is also a concern over Finn Russell who has a knee issue but is expected to be fit for Racing’s Top 14 quarter-final against Bordeaux-Bègles.

Russell may be excused touring duties in any case given he has barely had a break since playing for the Lions last summer.

Scotland’s other Lions – Stuart Hogg, Chris Harris, Duhan van der Merwe, Rory Sutherland, Ali Price, Zander Fagerson and Hamish Watson – also need to be managed carefully given what is at stake next year and Townsend faces a balancing act between resting players and having a squad strong enough to win the series.

Townsend refused to confirm if Hogg would remain as captain after the Six Nations and it will be fascinating to hear the coach address the issue.

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