Scotland name three new caps
October 21, 2009
Worcester's Alex Grove has been named in the Scotland squad © Getty Images
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has named three new faces in his squad for their opening autumn Test, against Fiji on November 14. Scotland will also face Australia and Argentina at Murrayfield.
Back-row duo Alan MacDonald and Richie Vernon, of Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively, and Worcester Warriors centre Alex Grove will all be in line for their full debuts after making themselves known to Robinson during Scotland 'A''s march to the 2009 Nations Cup title in Romania.
The squad will convene for a three-day camp at St. Andrews on November 2, before meeting again from November 8 at Murrayfield. Their Fiji Test will be Robinson's first since taking the reins as head-coach.
Scotland's British & Irish Lions tourists, scrum-half and skipper Mike Blair, lock Nathan Hines and hooker Ross Ford, are all included as are French exports Hugo Southwell, now at Stade Francais, Toulon fullback Rory Lamont and Clermont flanker Jason White. Injured Glasgow duo Max Evans and lock Richie Gray will attend the St.Andrews camps as part of their rehabilitation.
Three high-profile omissions come in the form of Glasgow fly-half Dan Parks, Edinburgh No.8 Ally Hogg and Northampton flanker Scott Gray, although Robinson did not rule out a call-up for later Tests against the Wallabies and Pumas. He praised the consistency of Vernon and MacDonald in a hard-fought selection battle for back-row places.
"Both have done well this season where, once again, the competition in the back-row is intense with Roddy Grant also knocking on the door," he said. "We've chosen the squad primarily on the basis of current form and there's a good balance of players with ten each from Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors and 12 exiles."
Scotland squad to face Fiji at Murrayfield on November 14:
Backs: Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Ben Cairns (Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick de Luca (Edinburgh), Thom Evans (Glasgow), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Alex Grove (Worcester), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), Nikki Walker (Ospreys)
Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow), Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow), Kelly Brown (Glasgow), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Dougie Hall (Glasgow), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Scott MacLeod (Edinburgh), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Richie Vernon (Glasgow), Jason White (Clermont Auvergne)
In the latest edition of Ask John, John Griffiths answers queries about Barbarians socks, bi-lingual referees and Lions who weren't Lions
"Here is the line-up I believe will take to the field on Saturday, let the abuse commence." Tom Hamilton has a punt at the Lions' starting XV for the first Test in his latest Tour Diary
"Drafting former Lions heroes and rising stars into your side at short notice may make for great copy but it does not make for a great side." Graham Jenkins on the lesson from the Lions' first loss