Scotland’s upcoming matches against Australia, Argentina and Georgia could the platform for some of the country’s burgeoning talents to make a name for themselves on the national stage. Duncan Smith looks at the three most likely contenders.
Position: Tighthead prop
Height: 6 ft 2 in
Club: Glasgow Warriors
Notebook: The injury to WP Nel, who has been magnificent for club and country in this pivotal pack position, has been a huge blow to Vern Cotter but the coach was quick to highlight what an opportunity it represents for Zander Fagerson.
The Kiwi has said that the 20-year-old is as good as he has seen at such a young age in this notoriously punishing position. A young man with an interesting hinterland - he is a former mountain bike champion and sang in the National Youth Choir as a schoolboy - Fagerson has made good progress since making his Glasgow debut in 2014 and earned his first cap off the bench in this year’s Calcutta Cup match.
He still has a lot of learning ahead of him to become a Test class tighthead but these upcoming games could see him continue his progress towards that goal.
Position: Openside flanker
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Weight: 15st 12lbs
Notebook: Born in Manchester and a product of the Leicester Tigers academy, Watson is eligible for Scotland through his grandparents and initially moved north on a Scotland Sevens contract, before earning a contract with Edinburgh.
A dynamic attacking flanker, he has been highly regarded for some time but back-row has proved a highly competitive position and he has been limited to just two caps, both against Italy in the 2015 Six Nations and World Cup warm-up in Turin.
Watson has been on electric form this season and has regularly been selected ahead of Scotland first-choice John Hardie at Edinburgh. He looks certain to add more caps in the coming weeks and will look to lay down a marker that he is very much in back-row mix.
Height: 5 ft 10in
Notebook: With lightning pace, Hoyland was a prolific tryscorer at age-grade level and has proven that he is natural finisher in the senior ranks too.
The former James Gillespie’s pupil played club rugby for Boroughmuir and Melrose and was a key member of the Scotland Sevens set-up and was top tryscorer at the Wellington event in 2014-15.
Hoyland was a surprise inclusion in Vern Cotter’s extended training squad ahead of the World Cup and won his first cap in the warm-up campaign against Italy in Turin.
e doubled his caps total on the summer tour to Japan and, after some impressive displays so far this season, could well get a run out at some point in the autumn.