Scotland: Gregor Townsend selects five uncapped players in Six Nations squad

Date published: January 19 2022 - Planet Rugby

Gregor Townsend has named five uncapped players in his 39-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations, including Saracens back-rower Andy Christie and London Irish scrum-half Ben White.

Rory Darge, Ben Vellacott and Kyle Rowe are also rewarded with call-ups ahead of Scotland’s first game of the Championship on Saturday, February 4 against England.

Christie represented Scotland at youth level, playing for the U16s and the 22-year-old has played with Saracens since 2018, becoming a prominent figure for the London side.

White, aged 23, signed for London Irish last year from Leicester Tigers and featured in their victory over Edinburgh last weekend.

Fellow London Irish player Rowe is also named in the squad having impressed in the Premiership this season, notably scoring a hat-trick against Saracens and was previously a member of the Scotland 7s and U20s teams.

Reward for Rory Darge

Darge and Vellacott have been selected due to consistently good performances at Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh respectively.

Following his memorable debut against England last year, Bath centre Cameron Redpath has recovered from injury and will once again be in contention ahead of the Six Nations opener.

During the Autumn Nations Series, Ewan Ashman, Jamie Hodgson, Josh Bayliss, Javan Sebastian, Pierre Schoeman, Rufus McLean and Sione Tuipulotu all received their first Scotland caps and are included once again.

Fresh from claiming top spot in Scotland’s all-time try scoring list last year Stuart Hogg once again captains his country.

He is joined by fellow British & Irish Lions adding their experience to the squad in Finn Russell, Ali Price, Zander Fagerson, Chris Harris, Rory Sutherland, Duhan van der Merwe and Hamish Watson.

Elsewhere, there are call-ups for Edinburgh pair back-row Magnus Bradbury and prop WP Nel who missed out on selection for the Autumn Nations Series, as did Exeter Chiefs lock Jonny Gray who also returns.

Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson also earns a squad selection having not featured for Scotland in 2021.

Scotland head coach Townsend said: “When you look through the squad this is the most competitive I’ve seen it in so many areas and that’s testament to the strength and depth we have.

“We are able to call-up several new players into the squad such as Andy Christie, Kyle Rowe and Ben White. We have been aware of all of the uncapped players for a while now and recently they have all experienced a breakthrough in terms of their performances at club level.

“A key part of the squad selection was rewarding form and that definitely applies to Ben Vellacott and Rory Darge who have been excellent for their clubs this season.

“We’re delighted to be able to include Cameron Redpath in the squad after missing the last few months with injury. He managed to get a game under his belt prior to the squad selection so we’ll see how he performs for Bath and in our training over the next couple of weeks.

“The Six Nations is the best competition we have in rugby so to be involved in it is a real privilege, especially starting with our oldest rivals in front of a sold-out home crowd.”

Scotland’s 39-man Six Nations squad

Forwards: Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Andy Christie, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Jamie Hodgson, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner, Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Hamish Watson

Backs: Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Rufus McLean, Ali Price, Cameron Redpath, Kyle Rowe, Finn Russell, Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Ben Vellacott, Ben White