Edinburgh – Scotland have included nine uncapped players in a squad of 31 for next month’s quadrangular international tournament in South Africa.
The event will see double-header internationals played on three successive weekends in Durban, Nelspruit and Pretoria for the first time and will also involve the hosts, plus Italy and Samoa.
The ground-breaking matches take on added significance as both South Africa and Samoa are in Scotland’s pool at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
The Scotland squad comprises 14 players currently with Glasgow Warriors, who are in RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final action against Leinster this Saturday, nine with Edinburgh Rugby and eight Exiles.
The nine potential newcomers are, in the pack, Steven Lawrie, his fellow hooker Pat MacArthur and lock Tim Swinson; and in the backs, Glasgow Warriors’ quartet Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie and Tommy Seymour, fullback Greig Tonks and wing Duncan Taylor.
Five of the uncapped brigade were part of the Scotland A squad that defeated England Saxons courageously 13-9 in Newcastle in February – Lawrie, Swinson, Dunbar, Tonks and try-scorer Taylor.
Scotland head coach Scott Johnson said: “First up, it’s a strong squad designed to win Test matches against quality opposition.
“We’ve continued to monitor the players’ form closely and we’ve been pleased that Glasgow have reached the knockout stages of the Rabo.
“We also want to enable certain players who are known to us – for example Nick De Luca and Max Evans – to have the sort of off-season physical preparation that they’ve not had for a few years because of the demands of touring schedules.”
The Scotland squad will convene on Monday, May 27 for a three day training camp in Perthshire and the Highlands before flying out to South Africa on Friday, May 31.
Scotland squad for quadrangular tournament with South Africa, Samoa and Italy next month:
Alex Dunbar* (Glasgow), Tom Heathcote (Bath/ENG), Peter Horne* (Glasgow), Ruaridh Jackson ( Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Peter Murchie* (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour* (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor* (Saracens/ENG), Greig Tonks* (Edinburgh), Tim Visser (Edinburgh)
John Barclay (Glasgow), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier/FRA), Kelly Brown (Saracens/ENG, capt), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), David Denton (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale/ENG), Ross Ford (Edinburgh) , Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester /ENG), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Steven Lawrie* (Edinburgh), Moray Low (Glasgow), Pat MacArthur* (Glasgow), Euan Murray (Worcester/ENG), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan/FRA), Tim Swinson* (Glasgow), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow)
* = uncapped
June 8: v Samoa, King’s Park, Durban
June 15: v South Africa, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
June 22: match to determine final placings, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Head coach: Scott Johnson
Assistant coaches: Jonathan Humphreys, Matt Taylor, Massimo Cuttitta and Duncan Hodge
Strength & Conditioning: Neill Potts and Cedric Unholz
Manager: Gavin Scott
Media manager: Graham Law
Doctor: Jonathan Hanson
Physiotherapists: Paul McGinley and Stephen Mutch
Analyst: Robert Holdsworth
Baggage: John Pennycuick