Scotland bring Finn Russell back from exile

Date published: October 12 2020

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named a 40-man squad for the forthcoming international matches, which includes the conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations and newly launched Autumn Nations Cup.

Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell is the headline inclusion after being ousted from the group ahead of the start of the Six Nations for a ‘breach of team protocol.’

The squad features three uncapped players in Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe and Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele.

In the 23 forwards, there are five players who did not feature in the 2020 Six Nations earlier in the year, with Glasgow Warriors trio Richie Gray (lock), Rob Harley (back-row/lock) and Kebble selected alongside London Irish flanker Blair Cowan, who won his last Scotland cap in 2016 and earns his first call up under Townsend.

Scarlets’ Blade Thompson (back-row) also re-joins the squad having last featured at Rugby World Cup 2019.

In the 17 backs selected, there are returns for Harlequins centre James Lang, who last featured in the national side during the summer of 2018, as well as Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg and Edinburgh winger Damien Hoyland, alongside squad debutants Van der Merwe and scrum-half Steele.

Townsend said: “We are very much looking forward to coming back together as a coaching and playing group after such an unprecedented and challenging period in our sport and across society in general.

“There was a strong feeling that we were growing as a team during the Six Nations earlier this year, making progress from game-to-game as well as building closer bonds within the squad. Our aim is to keep this momentum going as we take on Georgia and Wales before competing in the Autumn Nations Cup in November.

“The squad we have selected is formed by the majority of the players we worked with in the Six Nations alongside players who have grabbed their opportunity in the past few weeks and have been in form for their respective teams.

“Given the lack of games since March, there will be opportunities for players out-with the squad to break into our group over the next few weeks, but for now the focus is on this group that will be in camp from tomorrow. It will be great to see some familiar faces, welcome a few back into our squad and also introduce some new players to Test match rugby.”

Scotland begin their Test matches at Murrayfield against Georgia on Friday 23 October before facing Wales in Llanelli on 31 October in the rescheduled Six Nations fixture.

The newly formed Autumn Nations Cup begins in November with Scotland in Pool B alongside France and Fiji, who they will play at BT Murrayfield as well as an away test match against Italy.

Scotland 2020 squad

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, Scott Cummings, Cornell du Preez, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Rob Harley, Nick Haining, Oli Kebble, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Sam Skinner, Rory Sutherland, Blade Thomson, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson

Backs: Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Damien Hoyland, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang, Sean Maitland, Ali Price, Finn Russell, Scott Steele, Duhan van der Merwe, Duncan Weir