Scotland leave out Bennett

Date published: May 9 2016

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a 27-man squad, missing Mark Bennett, for the national team's two-Test tour of Japan next month.

Cotter confirmed that Glasgow Warriors centre Bennett has not been included to allow him to be considered for GB7s selection ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Test matches will be played on consecutive Saturdays at J1 League football stadia; the first at the Toyota Stadium in Toyota City (18 June), the second at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo (25 June), homes of Nagoya Grampus and FC Tokyo respectively.

The relatively short tour has allowed Cotter to select a tight group for the rematch of last year’s Rugby World Cup pool fixture where, after a tense start, Scotland produced a clinical five-try finish to win 45-10.

"Being a two-match tour, rather than three, allows us to take a smaller squad; a tight group, though opportunities still remain for other players to come in," said Cotter.

"We will be working on becoming smarter in the way that we look to win, with winning, of course, being our focus."

The majority of the squad played a key role in Scotland's recent Six Nations campaign, with just three players in the selection missing out on Championship exposure – Henry Pyrgos (recovered from a wrist injury in time for the final game against Ireland but was an unused replacement), hooker Fraser Brown (absent through injury), and promising young Edinburgh wing Damien Hoyland (22).

Cotter added: "The first game will be especially tough. We have five days to prepare following our arrival in Japan to face a team one place below us in the world rankings, on home soil.

"You only have to look at the crowd numbers and the passion that the Japanese people have at the Sun Wolves [inaugural Japanese Super Rugby team] fixtures at home to know that this will be a real test for the players."

Scotland squad

Forwards: Alasdair Dickinson, Willem Nel, Moray Low, Rory Sutherland, Ross Ford, Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Tim Swinson, John Barclay, David Denton, John Hardie, Josh Strauss, Ryan Wilson

Backs: Greig Laidlaw, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Ruaridh Jackson, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Duncan Taylor, Damien Hoyland, Sean Maitland, Tommy Seymour, Tim Visser, Stuart Hogg