Six Nations: Four talking points around Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad

Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad for the 2021 Six Nations includes four uncapped players and the return of some old favourites. Here are four talking points around his selection:

Cameron Redpath scores a try for England U20 against Scotland U20 at Franklin's Gardens in 2019. The centre is now part of the Scotland squad.
Cameron Redpath scores a try for England U20 against Scotland U20 at Franklin's Gardens in 2019. The centre is now part of the Scotland squad.

Persuading Cameron Redpath to switch sides

When Cameron Redpath scored a try for England Under-20s in the win against their Scotland counterparts at Franklin’s Gardens in 2019 it felt like a dagger to the heart of Scottish rugby fans. How could the son of former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath be in the English system? Well, Redpath junior was actually born in France while his dad was playing for Narbonne but grew up in England as Bryan’s career took him to Sale Sharks. It was with the latter side that Cameron made his mark at centre before moving to Bath. Although he played age-grad rugby for Scotland, he quickly caught the eye of England was named in Eddie Jones’ full squad for the tour of South Africa in 2018. Injury prevented him from touring and he dropped into the U20 squad. His father made it clear he would prefer his son to play for Scotland and Townsend appears to have persuaded to do just that. Centre has been a problem position for Scotland inasmuch as no-one has nailed down either of the berths. At 21, Redpath is a youthful new option for the Six Nations.

The return of Ritchie Gray

Richie Gray is back in the Scotland squad.

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It’s almost three years since Gray last played for Scotland and nearly four since he started a game for the national side, but the big lock shone for Glasgow in the two 1872 Cup matches on his return from a concussion lay-off. After asking to be omitted from the 2019 World Cup following the birth of his child, Gray was part of the Scotland squad for the autumn internationals but picked up an injury. Now 31, Gray remains one of the best lineout jumpers in the game.

Spreading the load at hooker

Without Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally, hooker is a position of real concern for Townsend. Neither is likely to be available for the tournament due to neck injuries and the Scotland coach has cast his net wide to replace the pair. George Turner of Glasgow Warriors is in the box seat to start against England at Twickenham on February 6 but the other three hookers have just three caps between them, all won by Grant Stewart in 2019. Ewan Ashman of Sale and David Cherry of Edinburgh are untried at this level. Even Turner, who has 12 caps, has never played in the Six Nations.

Fresh start for Huw Jones

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Jones has been recast as a full-back at Glasgow Warriors and is starting to show the attacking bursts that catapulted him on to the international scene as a centre. With ten tries from 26 caps Jones knows his way to the line but is unlikely to start at full-back for Scotland when captain Stuart Hogg is fit and firing. Which begs the question, is he in the squad as a full-back or centre?

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