Scotland defend Blake selection

Date published: January 27 2015

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson says the selection of Hugh Blake, who is yet to play for Edinburgh, doesn’t send out the wrong message.

Blake’s inclusion was met with bemusement by former Scottish players last week, with more experienced flankers including Kelly Brown and John Barclay left out in favour of the 22-year-old former New Zealand U20 star.

Dodson however defended the decision by stating that young players coming through the system in Scotland were getting opportunities.

“I don’t think it is sending the wrong message out to our youngsters. It might have done had we not capped so many young Scottish players over the last two years,” Dodson told Sky Sports.

“Hamish Watson is in the squad, so is Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Ben Toolis. It is not as if we’ve brought Hugh Blake in and no-one else is getting capped.

“People should also not make the assumption that we have not been tracking Hugh Blake. We’ve been tracking him for ages.

“We had him watched down in New Zealand making sure the progress is there and Vern believes this boy can bring something to the squad that we don’t have. He has a special skill set that we don’t possess.

“I don’t think we can be in a position where if people go abroad we can afford not to pick them. I see this is a global market. We’re happy to see people come back and we are happy to see people leave, but we have to make sure that the people in our pro squads in Scotland are as competitive as they can be.”

Scotland open their Six Nations campaign against France next weekend.