Scotland call on five uncapped players for Tests
October 22, 2013
New Zealand-born Blair Cowan has been called up by Scotland © Getty Images
Scotland have named five uncapped players in their 41-man squad for the November Tests.
Interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson has drafted in Glasgow Warriors trio Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray and Chris Fusaro alongside London Irish's Kieran Low and Blair Cowan. Both Low and Cowan were born outside of Scotland but the former qualifies through his Dingwall-born grandfather while Cowan's eligible as his mother was born in Dunoon.
The squad is made up of 18 players from the Warriors, the team currently leading the RaboDirect PRO12, and 10 from Edinburgh. There are also 13 players plying their trade outside of Scotland included with Castres' Richie Gray one of them.
But it will be the five uncapped players who will make the headlines. "I've been impressed with what I've seen from Mark Bennett and Jonny Gray," Johnson said, who is holding the fort until Vern Cotter takes over in June 2014. "They've been consistent, which is often a challenge for younger players, and they've shown the resolve to get better.
"Low is a good, young player who is athletic and big enough to play at lock or blindside and we don't have many players who can do that. One of the lessons from the South African tour, and especially given the attritional nature of the position, is that we must increase our back-row depth and compare the skills set of the players there.
"We know Ross Rennie is coming back to fitness and Chris Fusaro is an out and out seven. Cowan is a good, tough, energetic player who can play in every back-row position."
Scotland will face Japan, South Africa and Australia in November and Johnson explained his selection, saying: "This squad is about getting the job right for our upcoming Test matches but it's also about the next 24 months as we build towards Rugby World Cup 2015.
"We have to make sure, too, that our young players, who have the ability to play international footy, get the mileage on the clock ahead of the World Cup."
John Barclay (Scarlets), John Beattie (Montpellier), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Montpellier), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Kieran Low (London Irish), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors)
Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
Invited to train with squad: Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie (both Edinburgh Rugby)
Injured: Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie and Ryan Wilson (all Glasgow Warriors) and Steve Lawrie (Edinburgh Rugby)
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