World Cup player profiles: Scotland

Date published: September 11 2015

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Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we take a look at all of the players set to feature in England. Next up, Scotland.

Forwards: Alasdair Dickinson, Ryan Grant, WP Nel, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Fraser Brown, Ross Ford, Stuart McInally, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Tim Swinson, David Denton, Josh Strauss, Ryan Wilson, John Hardie, Alasdair Strokosch

Backs: Greig Laidlaw, Henry Pyrgos, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Finn Russell, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Peter Horne, Richie Vernon, Stuart Hogg, Sean Lamont, Sean Maitland, Tommy Seymour, Tim Visser.


MARK BENNETT

Centre    1.83m    89kg    03.01.1993

A talented young player for Glasgow Warriors, Bennett suffered a shoulder injury in April 2015 to put him in a race against time to make the World Cup. Bennett first appeared in club rugby for Glasgow before joining French club Clermont, but he returned to Scotland shortly afterwards. Bennett appeared in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 U20 Junior World Championships and was first called up by Scotland for their 2014 June tour, but failed to make an appearance. Impressive form for Glasgow saw him then make his Test debut against Argentina in November 2014. Bennett scored his first tries for his country in the 2015 Six Nations against Italy and England.


FRASER BROWN

Hooker    1.82m    103kg    20.06.1989

A Scotland U20 captain during the 2009 U20 Six Nations and Junior World Championship, Brown’s career took off after making the switch from Edinburgh to Glasgow in 2012, when he made his debut in the PRO12 against Zebre. Brown earned a late call-up to Scotland’s quadrangular series in South Africa in 2013, when he came off the bench against Italy to win his first Test cap. All his eight appearances through to the end of the 2015 Six Nations were as a replacement.


SAM HIDALGO CLYNE

Scrum-half    1.75m    83kg    04.08.1993

Able to play as a scrum-half or fly-half, Hidalgo-Clyne is a goal-kicking back for Scottish PRO12 side Edinburgh. The young talent was born in Granada, Spain, before moving to Scotland when he was three. He made his professional debut in 2013 against Munster while his first Test cap came less than two years later as a replacement in the 2015 Six Nations clash with France. Hidalgo-Clyne regularly featured in the tournament and was impressive, while guiding Edinburgh to a European Challenge Cup Final with his work off the kicking tee.


DAVID DENTON

Number eight    1.96m    114kg    05.02.1990

Denton was born in Marondera, Zimbabwe and qualifies to play for Scotland through his mother who was born in Glasgow. Denton grew up in Port Elizabeth and played for Eastern Province before moving to Edinburgh to study. His first professional contract came in 2010 after working with the Scotland U20s. Denton missed the cut for the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad, playing in the warm-up against Ireland, before winning his first start against England in the 2012 Six Nations. He has been a Scotland regular ever since, when not missing through injury.


ALASDAIR DICKINSON

 Prop    1.83m    108kg    11.09.1983

Dickinson’s club career has taken from Edinburgh to England and back again, starting from his time in the Scottish capital when he made his debut in 2003. Dickinson then moved to Gloucester in 2007 and made his Test debut against New Zealand in that same year in the Rugby World Cup. His first Test try came four years later against Italy in a World Cup warm-up match before the 2011 World Cup, with Dickinson then joining Sale Sharks before returning to Edinburgh in 2013. He started nine Tests in a row for Scotland between June 2014 and March 2015.


ROSS FORD

Hooker    1.85m    113kg    23.04.1984

The former Scotland captain is appearing in his third Rugby World Cup for Scotland and was capped by the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa. Ford started his club career with Border Reivers before joining Edinburgh in 2007, for whom he has made over 140 appearances. Ford made his debut for Scotland in 2004 against Australia at Murrayfield and started as a young player at flanker before switching to the number two shirt. Ford scored his first international try in the 2007 Rugby World Cup match against Portugal.


GRANT GILCHRIST

Lock    2.03m    119kg    09.08.1990

A regular member of the Edinburgh pack since his debut in 2011 and currently the side’s vice-captain. Gilchrist rose through the Scotland age groups, playing at U16, U18 and U20 level before being capped for the first time against France in Paris at only 22 years of age. Standing at over two metres tall, Gilchrist scored his first Test try for Scotland against Canada in 2014 and captained the side a week before against Argentina. He was due to captain Scotland during the 2014 November Tests but was forced to withdraw after breaking his arm playing for Edinburgh, as he missed the rest of the 2014/2015 season.


RYAN GRANT

Prop    1.85m    109kg    08.10.1985

Grant served in the Royal Corps of Signals for the British Army between 2002-2005 before turning professional with Border Reivers, going on to play for Edinburgh before breaking through into the Scotland set-up while at Glasgow Warriors. He has also played for the Army, Scotland U/21 and Scotland ‘A’. His Test debut came on the 2012 tour to Australia and Grant’s good form earned him a call-up one-year later to the British and Irish Lions tour after an injury to Gethin Jenkins. The powerful loosehead prop will be playing in his first Rugby World Cup.


JONNY GRAY

 Lock    1.98m    119kg    14.03.1994

The younger brother of Scotland and British and Irish Lions second row Richie, Gray impressed for Glasgow Warriors after replacing his brother in the starting XV following Richie’s move to Castres. Gray captained the Scotland U20 side during 2013 and was first capped by Scotland in 2013 at only 19 years of age having made his debut for Glasgow Warriors the year before. His debut came as a replacement against South Africa at Murrayfield and he scored his first try a year later against Argentina in 2014 as he established himself as a key player for Scotland.


RICHIE GRAY

Lock    1.98m    119kg    14.03.1994

The older brother of Scotland second row Jonny, Gray stands at a remarkable 2.08m tall and made his debut for Glasgow Warriors back in 2008 at the age of 18. Gray scored four tries for the PRO12 side in 47 appearances before joining Sale Sharks in 2012, where he stayed for one season before being signed by Top 14 club Castres. Gray’s first Scotland cap came as a replacement in the 2010 Six Nations against France, making his first start against the All Blacks later that year. He played in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and was capped by the British and Irish Lions in 2013. He scored his first Test try against Ireland in 2012.


JOHN HARDIE

Flanker    1.83m    103kg    27.07.1988

New Zealand born, Hardie started out playing for Southland and went on to make 65 appearances on a seven-year stint from 2007. The dynamic back-row made his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2010 and has since made over 50 appearances for them. Hardie made his Test debut for Scotland in 2015, in a World Cup warm-up game against Italy in Turin. He qualifies for Scotland through ancestry.


STUART HOGG

Full-back    1.80m    93kg    24.06.1992

Hogg burst onto the scene during the 2011/2012 season, first with Glasgow Warriors and then being called up to Scotland’s Six Nations squad during the 2012 Six Nations. Hogg was denied a try on his debut but scored in Scotland’s next game against France in his first start for his country. Hogg scored back-to-back tries in the 2013 Six Nations against England and Italy, establishing himself as one of Scotland’s most important players. Hogg was the youngest player to be selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2013 and was in top form during the 2015 Six Nations, which continued as he played a major role in Glasgow winning the PRO12 title at the end of the season.


PETER HORNE

Flyhalf/Centre    1.83m    92kg    05.10.1989  

Horne represented Scotland at youth level producing solid performances that caught the attention of Glasgow Warriors's coaching stuff. He landed a contract with them in 2010 and has since gone on to make 80 appearances and also won two PRO12 titles with them in 2014 and 2015. Horne's exciting attacking game led to his inclusion in Scotland's sevens side in 2011. The versatile back capable of playing fly-half and centre made his Test bow in 2013.


GREIG LAIDLAW

 

 

Scrum-half    1.75m    80kg    12.10.1985  

Scotland’s captain since the 2013/2014 season, Laidlaw won his first cap for his country back in 2010 against New Zealand at Murrayfield. An accurate goalkicker, Laidlaw has already scored well over 300 points for Scotland and is capable of playing scrum-half and fly-half. Laidlaw started his club career with Edinburgh where he spent seven years between 2007 to 2014, captaining the team during his final three years in the Scottish capital before heading to England where he joined Gloucester. Laidlaw will have a major role to play for Scotland in this 2015 Rugby World Cup, his first tournament.


SEAN LAMONT

 

 

Wing/Centre    1.88m    105kg    15.01.1981  

One of Scotland’s longest-serving players made his debut back in 2004 against Samoa. Lamont will be playing in his third Rugby World Cup this year after featuring in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments. His first Test try came against Australia at Murrayfield in 2004 and he scored his only Test try double against France during the 2006 Six Nations. Lamont’s club career began back in 2000 with Rotherham, before he returned to his native Scotland in 2003 with Glasgow. Lamont then joined Northampton Saints in 2005, spending four years in England before going to Wales with the Scarlets. In 2012 he returned to Glasgow Warriors where he still plays. He has also represented Scotland in Sevens at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


SEAN MAITLAND

Wing/Fullback    1.88m    101kg    14.09.1988    

Capable of slotting in anywhere across the back three, Maitland was born in Tokoroa in New Zealand. Maitland won the U19 World Cup with New Zealand in 2007 and the same title with the U20s in 2008, before making his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders. Maitland scored four tries in one game against the Brumbies. He qualifies for Scotland through his grandparents, who moved from Glasgow to New Zealand in the 1960s. Maitland represent the Maori All Blacks before heading to Scotland to join Glasgow Warriors in 2012. He made his Scotland debut in 2013 against England and scored a try at Twickenham. Maitland signed for London Irish in 2015 but missed the Six Nations that same year through injury.


STUART McINALLY

Hooker    1.90m    105kg    09.08.1990   

McInally currently plies his trade in England for Bristol. He represented Scotland at youth level, which resulted in a contract at Edinburgh. The slim hooker's five-years at Edinburgh saw him make 71 appearances and scoring seven tries before heading abroad joining Bristol in 2014. Staggering performances for Bristol caught the attention of Scotland coach, Vern Cotter as he included McInally in his 2015 World Cup Squad. McInally made his Test debut in a World Cup war-up match against Italy.


WP NEL

Prop    1.82m    120kg    30.04.1986  

Born in Loeriesfontein in South Africa, Nel qualified to play for Scotland after completing his residency while playing for the Scottish PRO12 outfit Edinburgh. Nel played Super Rugby for the Cheetahs between 2009-2012, scoring an impressive nine tries, before making the move to Scotland. His try-scoring has continued for the Scottish side resulting in Vern Cotter’s decision to call up Nel to his squad ahead of the World Cup. Nel played for the Cheetahs against the British and Irish Lions in 2009.


HENRY PYRGOS

Scrum-half    1.78m    80kg    09.07.1989  

Glasgow Warriors stalwart Pyrgos represented Scotland at youth level before making his Test bow 2012. The nippy scrum-half joined Glasgow Warriors in 2010 after taking leave from a chemistry degree at Loughborough University to pursue his rugby ambitions. Blessed with strong basic skills and a tremendous appetite to learn, Pyrgos has made over 80 appearances for Glasgow since joining them.


 GORDON REID

Prop     1.88m    120kg    04.03.1987  

After two-years with Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12, Reid was called up by Scotland for the first time during the 2012 November Tests but failed to get off the bench for his debut against Tonga in what turned out to be coach Andy Robinson’s final game in charge after a shock defeat. His debut came two years later against the USA when he started in Houston and the following week against Canada, before a run of appearances as a replacement during the 2014 November Tests and 2015 Six Nations.


  FINN RUSSELL

Fly-half/Centre    1.88m    87kg    23.09.1992    

Russell’s electric form for Glasgow Warriors saw him selected by Scotland head coach Vern Cotter to start during the 2015 Six Nations. He spent 15 weeks on a scholarship in Christchurch, New Zealand, back in 2013. Russell made his debut the year before against the USA in Houston. A suspension for a dangerous tackle against Wales forced him to miss the Six Nations game with Italy, ending a run of seven straight starts. Russell scored his first international try against Ireland in March 2015 before finishing the domestic season in style as he inspired Glasgow to a PRO12 title triumph.


 MATT SCOTT

Centre    1.86m    101kg    30.09.1990  

Scott came through the Scotland U20 set-up before making his debut for Edinburgh at the start of the 2011 season. Scott went on to make his first cap for Scotland as a replacement against Ireland in the 2012 Six Nations. His first start followed in June on Scotland’s international tour, with Scott playing in a famous win over Australia. Scott scored his first try in the 2013 Six Nations against Italy, following it up with two tries in two games later that year in June against South Africa and Italy again. Scott made three starts in the 2015 Six Nations as he pressed his claims to be part of Scotland’s squad at the World Cup.


 TOMMY SEYMOUR

 

   Wing    1.83m    95kg    01.07.1988  

Seymour was born in Nashville in the USA but was brought up in Ireland, who he supported as a boy. However he decided to represent Scotland after qualifying through his mother. Seymour began his professional career with Ulster, who he appeared for during the 2010/2011 campaign, before switching to Glasgow Warriors. His Scotland debut followed two years later against South Africa in Nelspruit. Seymour’s first international tries came a few months later in the November Test against Japan, Seymour’s first game at home for Scotland, when he scored twice. During the 2014 November Tests, Seymour scored three tries in three consecutive games against Argentina, New Zealand and Tonga, and made four starts in the 2015 Six Nations.


JOSH STRAUSS

Flanker/Number eight    1.96m    114kg    23.10.1986  

Strauss was born in Bellville, South Africa, and made his name playing Super Rugby and in the Currie Cup for the Lions up until 2012. He captained the Lions to Currie Cup success in 2011 before signing with Glasgow Warriors on a three-year deal. Recognised for his impressive beard, Strauss has proved to be a very successful signing for the Scottish PRO12 outfit and regularly captains the team, including to a PRO12 title at the end of the 2014/2015 season. Strauss was first called up by Scotland ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup having completed his three-year residency.


ALASDAIR STROKOSCH

Flanker    1.90m    110kg    21.02.1983    

Strokosch will be playing in his second Rugby World Cup after taking part in the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. He began his professional career with Edinburgh back in 2004 where he spent three-years before playing for Gloucester between 2007 and 2012, making over 100 appearances for the Cherry and Whites. Strokosch then moved to Perpignan. He won his first cap against Australia in 2006 as a replacement and didn’t make his first start until 2008 in the Six Nations against Ireland, scoring his first try later that year against Canada in November.


TIM SWINSON

Lock    1.93m    116kg    17.02.1987

Swinson started out playing for English outfit, Newcastle Falcons and made 120 appearance from 2007 to 2012.  He returned to his native Scotland and joined Glasgow Warriors in 2012, producing staggering performances, which resulted in his Test bow a year later.


RICHIE VERNON

Centre    1.96m    102kg    07.07.1987  

Vernon broke onto the international scene in 2009 when he made his Test debut for Scotland. The big midfielder went on to represent them at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, appearing in three of their four pool matches. Vernon represented Glasgow Warriors on a four-year stint from 2007 before heading to England, joning the Sale Sharks. Vernon spent two-years at the Sharks before rejoining Glasgow in 2013. Vernon's physical presence in the midfield will be invaluable for Scotland at this year's World Cup.


 TIM VISSER

Wing    1.93m    110kg    29.05.1987  

Scotland’s ‘Flying Dutchman’, Visser was born in Zeewolde in the Netherlands and began his rugby career with Newcastle Falcons after going to Northumbria University in England. Visser spent three-years with Newcastle, making over 50 appearances, before joining Edinburgh in 2009. Having completed his three-year residency Visser’s Scotland debut came in 2012 against Fiji, scoring two tries. Visser scored another double later that year against New Zealand at Murrayfield on his first international appearance on home soil. In 2015, Visser signed for English club Harlequins for after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.


DUNCAN WEIR

Fly-half    1.76m    90kg    10.05.1991  

A regular performer for Scotland since his debut in 2012. Weir’s first appearance came as a replacement for Scotland against France in the Six Nations. He had to wait over a year until his first start for his country, coming against Wales at Murrayfield in the 2013 Six Nations. Weir became Scotland’s number one fly-half throughout the rest of 2013 and the 2014 Six Nations, before being used a substitute in the 2014 November Tests after losing his place to his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Finn Russell. Injury ruled Weir out of the 2015 Six Nations but he returned to fitness at the end of the season to be named in Scotland’s World Cup squad. He has played for Glasgow since 2010, scoring over 600 points.


JON WELSH

Prop    1.85m    123kg    13.10.1986     

After seven years playing for Glasgow Warriors in Scotland, Welsh signed for English Premiership side Newcastle Falcons in 2015. The Glasgow-born prop made over 100 appearances for his local side between 2008 to 2015 and won his first cap for Scotland back in 2012 against Italy during the Six Nations. Welsh has since appeared as a replacement once in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the latest being during the 2015 Six Nations against Wales at Murrayfield.


RYAN WILSON
Flanker/Number-eight    1.91m     105kg    18.05.1989   

Born in England, Wilson represented at Scotland at U20 level in 2009 before making his club debut for Glasgow Warriors a year later in 2010. Capable of playing across the back row, Wilson made his first appearance as a replacement in the 2013 Six Nations when he came off the bench against Wales. His first start came later that year on the tour to South Africa in Nelspruit before featuring heavily in the 2014 Six Nations.

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