Former England international Ugo Monye believes Northampton Saints’ Rory Hutchinson stands a good chance of going to the World Cup, after the outside centre was approached by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.
The former Harlequins back reckons the 23-year-old is as good as any of the number 13s available to Townsend, and spoke to BBC Radio Five Live’s Rugby Union Weekly programme on Tuesday.
“I know Gregor Townsend has been on the phone to him,” Monye said. “I would take him to the World Cup for Scotland - I think he’s class.
“[Scotland’s] biggest weakness has always been defence. Rory’s got a good defence, but he can do everything that the other 13s who are available to Gregor Townsend can do in attack.”
Cambridge-born Hutchinson has been capped by Scotland at Under-18 and Under-20 level through his Glasgow-born grandmother, but could earn a call-up to the summer training camp with a strong end to the Gallagher Premiership season for the Jimmies.
Huw Jones and Nick Grigg shared outside centre duties for Scotland during the 2019 Six Nations, with Jones featuring against Italy and Ireland and his Scotstoun colleague Grigg assuming the role against France, Wales and England.
A third Warriors player, Alex Dunbar, started at 13 against Fiji in the Autumn Test series last year, while Edinburgh duo Mark Bennett and Matt Taylor, along with Saracens’ Duncan Taylor, were all unavailable through injury for the Six Nations tournament.
Scotland will play two warm-up games ahead of September’s World Cup in Japan, against France and Georgia - and the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for February could play a part.
Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday’s Iain Morrison last month, Hutchinson said: “It was nice to get a message from [Townsend] and just know that I am on his radar. It was nice to get some recognition.”
Asked about the prospect of making his senior debut for Scotland, Hutchinson added: “I haven’t thought about it too much. There has been some talk but I am just going to concentrate on my club rugby at the moment and see what happens.
“Who knows what the future would hold - but like I said, club rugby comes first. I’m not thinking about it too much but it is in the back of my mind.”