Scotland set to name Six Nations squad
January 5, 2012
Speculation surrounds the identity of Andy Robinson's captain for the Six Nations © PA Photos
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson is set to introduce some fresh faces into his squad for this year's Six Nations.
The bulk of the squad, to be named later today, is poised to be the same as that which exited the recent Rugby World Cup at the pool stages but Robinson is expected to inject some youth while the retirement of veterans Chris Paterson and Nathan Hines will force further changes.
Robinson may also appoint a new permanent captain, with World Cup skipper Alastair Kellock by no means a first-choice pick in the second row, as he seeks to improve on a record of two wins in 10 Six Nations matches as head coach. Flankers John Barclay and Kelly Brown and hooker Ross Ford all have a realistic chance of being handed the captaincy. Chris Cusiter, Robinson's first skipper as Scotland boss, could also claim the role - if he has convinced the head coach he should be first-choice scrum-half.
Senior players such as fly-half Dan Parks and wing Simon Danielli, may be omitted in favour of youth with Glasgow's Rob Harley, Duncan Weir, Stuart Hogg, Pat MacArthur and Ryan Wilson and Edinburgh's David Denton, Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist and Lee Jones are among those set to be included - if only for Robinson to see them at close quarters in an international environment.
"Ultimately, they've got to come in and be able to perform at their very best when they come into the Scotland team," said Robinson. "But also I believe a lot of the players that played in the World Cup performed well and they will be given opportunities to continue their development in the Scotland shirt."
Parks, who is 33, has 66 caps and was omitted from Robinson's first squad as boss in 2009, has fallen behind Ruaridh Jackson in the pecking order. Jackson, Weir and Edinburgh captain Greig Laidlaw, who can also play scrum-half, are alternative options at number 10. London Wasps' Hugo Southwell, who missed the World Cup through injury, could return, but Johnnie Beattie is set to be omitted once again with a wealth of back-row options at Robinson's disposal.
Newcastle tight-head prop Euan Murray, who is 31, will not be available for the Sunday games against Wales and France and could be sweating over his place, while Moray Low was the only squad member not to feature in New Zealand and has been limited in his appearances for Glasgow this term.
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