Scotland cut seven from RWC squad

Date published: August 24 2015

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has confirmed that seven players have been released from the squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.

The decision follows the national team's opening two Test matches against Ireland and Italy, with this Saturday's game against the Azzuri at Murrayfield the last chance for the players to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad, before it's announced the following Tuesday (September 1).

Glasgow Warriors' pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned to Scotstoun having made their first outings for the national team last weekend against Italy in Saturday's 16-12 win in Turin.

Edinburgh quintet Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland (wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will rejoin the capital club, with Hoyland and Watson also adding to their international honours at the weekend.

Warriors' hooker Kevin Bryce – who joined the squad last week as precautionary cover – has also returned to his club.

 "I'd like to thank the players for all their hard work throughout what has been a very tough pre-season campaign," said Cotter.

"Their commitment to improving as individuals and to our collective endeavor has been exceptional, and has made this a very tough decision.

"They are understandably disappointed to miss out at this stage, however they have done themselves proud with their performances in training and the two Test matches.

"The nature of Test rugby is that we may need to call upon any of these players at any given time during our journey to and through what will be a very tough Rugby World Cup campaign, so we'll continue to monitor their performances at club level very closely.”

Cotter also confirmed that back-row Josh Strauss has returned to Glasgow Warriors with the view to getting game time, before being considered for the final 31-man group.

The squad – minus Strauss – will now convene for a four-day camp at the University of St Andrews ahead of Saturday's decisive Test match against Italy at Murrayfield Stadium.