Scotland add fresh faces to Six Nations mix
January 5, 2012
Glasgow's Duncan Weir is one of the fresh faces promoted to the Scotland squad © Getty Images
Head coach Andy Robinson has selected six uncapped players in Scotland's 36-man squad for the opening two matches of the Six Nations.
The new faces are Edinburgh wing Lee Jones, the Glasgow trio of fullback Stuart Hogg, fly-half Duncan Weir and flanker/lock Robert Harley, Sale flanker/lock Fraser McKenzie and London Irish centre Steven Shingler. All 28 available players from last year's Rugby World Cup squad are included with Chris Paterson and Nathan Hines having now retired from international rugby.
"I am pleased to reflect on the winning displays we have seen from both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors over the last two months and the contribution a number of our uncapped players have made to them," said Robinson, who will name his captain later this month.
"I think what's also encouraging is that a number of players who have forced their way into contention in that period and who have not made the squad this time, are really knocking on the door and that competition for places can only raise our standards, so this Scotland squad can be very much a work in progress over the coming months.
"We said after the Rugby World Cup that the challenge the Scotland squad must confront is to get on with the business of winning international rugby matches. Potential counts for nothing if you don't deliver results."
The 23-year-old Jones, a product of Selkirk has graduated from both Scotland 7s and Scotland A team and has scored six tries in 28 appearances for Edinburgh since making his debut in a pre-season friendly against London Irish in 2010. Hogg, 19, has won promotion from the Scotland U20 squad having recently signed a contract that will keep with Glasgow Warriors until at least May 2015.
The 20-year-old Weir is currently the top-scorer in the RaboDirect PRO 12 league (145 points) and has represented Scotland at A, 7s and age-grade levels, while both Harley and McKenzie have been part of Scotland squads in the recent past and made a considerable impact in the Scotland A team.
Shingler, born in Swansea and who joined London Irish from Scarlets at the start of this season, is a former Wales U20 international but qualifies for Scotland through his Dumfries-born mum, Jeanette. "I would be massively proud to play for Scotland," he told scotlandrugbyteam.org. "My upbringing from my mother means I've always known about Scotland. I've got my gran, auntie, two uncles and two cousins in Langholm and other than the past year I've been up 15 years on the bounce to see them around the time of the Common Riding and I've competed in the Games as well."
The squad will gather at St Andrews on January 23 before it is trimmed for match specific preparations for Scotland's opening game of the Championship against England at Murrayfield on February 4.
Backs: Joe Ansbro (London Irish), Mike Blair (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Max Evans (Castres), Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson (both Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw (both Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Steven Shingler (London Irish) and Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton (both Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray, Dougie Hall (both Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Fraser McKenzie (Sale Sharks), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester) and Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks).
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