Scotland leaves star playmakers at home for mid-year tour
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has announced a 40-man squad for the mid-year tour to South America.
Scotland ‘A’ take on Chile in Santiago on Saturday, June 25, before Scotland plays a three-Test series against Argentina – on consecutive Saturdays: July 2, 9 and 16.
Townsend has included six uncapped players in a Grant Gilchrist-captained 40-man squad, following the omission of regular skipper Stuart Hogg and flyhalf Finn Russell.
Another 2021 British and Irish Lions pick, midfielder Chris Harris, has also been excluded.
Hogg’s club season at Exeter ended with last Saturday’s win over Harlequins, Russell is currently battling injury with Racing 92 contesting the Top 14 play-offs while Harris played his final game of the Gloucester campaign in their win over Saracens.
While the exclusion of the trio will be attributed to them having toured until last August with the B&I Lions, numerous others who made that trip last year are now set to travel with Scotland.
It will also place a focus on the background situation prevailing in Scotland, who took disciplinary action against a half dozen players during the recent Six Nations.
Long-serving Scotland skipper Hogg finished that tournament in Dublin on March 19 by addressing the previous weekend’s breach of team protocol which resulted in the fullback and five other players being disciplined for visiting a bar in Edinburgh without the permission of team management.
Russell, Ali Price, Darcy Graham, Sam Johnson, Sione Tuipulotu and Hogg all headed out on the town after they had arrived back in the Scottish capital following the round four Six Nations win over Italy.
Whereas Hogg and Russell now miss out on the Scotland tour, the other four players involved in that incident will travel.
Edinburgh’s Ben Muncaster, Glen Young, Matt Currie, along with London Irish’s Kyle Rowe and Glasgow Warriors’ duo Murphy Walker and Ollie Smith are the uncapped players in the group.
The squad sees Glasgow Warriors’ forwards Scott Cummings, Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson make their return to the playing group, following spells of injury respectively, along with Worcester Warriors’ prop Rory Sutherland and fellow front row forward Jamie Bhatti and Exeter Chiefs lock Jonny Gray who also missed the majority of the Six Nations.
Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson has been selected and is on the cusp of reaching 50 caps for his country, just one appearance away from the milestone.
Fellow British & Irish Lions players Ali Price, Duhan van der Merwe and Zander Fagerson are also selected to tour.
In the forwards, Saracens’ back row forward Andy Christie retains his place in the squad following his debut earlier this year against France and in the backs Glasgow Warriors’ scrumhalf George Horne and Edinburgh winger Damian Hoyland make their return after missing the Six Nations.
Ahead of the Premiership play-off semifinal this weekend Harlequins’ Huw Jones returns to the squad along with Northampton Saints centre Rory Hutchinson who has enjoyed a successful season.
Scotland A will kick-off the tour with their first competitive fixture since 2014 when they take on Chile.
Chile will use the match as preparation for their World Cup play-offs against the United States after beating Canada last year in an Americas qualifying match.
This will be the first time Chile have played a Six Nations team in more than 60 years and is their first meeting with the Scots at any international level.
The last time Scotland played in Argentina was in 2018, following a tour of North America, in a six-try 15-44 win in Resistencia, with George Horne scoring a brace.
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Scotland 2022 mid-year tour squad
Forwards: Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh), Andy Christie (Saracens), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh, captain), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie Hodgson (Edinburgh), Ben Muncaster (Edinburgh), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Glen Young (Edinburgh).
Backs: Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Matt Currie (Edinburgh), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Adam Hastings (Gloucester), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Damian Hoyland (Edinburgh), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Harlequins), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Rufus McLean (Glasgow Warriors), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Kyle Rowe (London Irish), Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Warriors), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors), Ben White (London Irish)
Mid-year Tour 2022 Fixtures
Saturday, June 25: Chile v Scotland A
Saturday, July 2: Argentina v Scotland
Saturday, July 9: Argentina v Scotland
Saturday, July 16: Argentina v Scotland