Uncapped trio Jon Welsh, Rob Harley and Jack Cuthbert have been named in the Scotland squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship, head coach Andy Robinson announced today.
Bath back Cuthbert has been included alongside Glasgow loosehead prop Welsh and his fellow Warrior Harley, who can play at flanker or lock, in the 34-man squad for next week’s training camp in St Andrews.
Either Rory Lawson, Mike Blair or Alastair Kellock are likely to captain Scotland, having all done so in the last 12 months.
Scotland have won five of their last six games and begin the Six Nations against France in Paris on February 5.
Centre Graeme Morrison is unavailable due to a knee injury sustained playing for Glasgow against Edinburgh on December 27, while Chris Cusiter (Glasgow), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson and Jim Hamilton (both Gloucester) were also not considered due to injury.
Johnnie Beattie and Simon Danielli return to the squad after missing the autumn Tests, which featured defeat to New Zealand and wins over world champions South Africa and Samoa.
Robinson said: “There’s always excitement in the air at this time of year as we look forward to the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
“Selection reflects both current form and the performances of a number of players during our matches in the autumn.
“I’ve been impressed by Robert Harley since I first saw him play in a pro-team back-up game some seasons back.
“He has performed consistently for Glasgow this season in a position where we have strength and there is considerable competition for a starting place.
“Jon Welsh is another who has benefited from raising his game in the face of intense competition and has a good work ethic.
“Jack Cuthbert has had a really good couple of months having won his place in the Bath first XV.
“He was also on duty during the Nations Cup in Romania last summer and I’ve said often enough that players who perform for Scotland A are very much in the frame.”
Scotland squad for pre-RBS 6 Nations Championship training camp at St Andrews, beginning Monday 24 January:
Backs: Joe Ansbro (Northampton Saints), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Jack Cuthbert (Bath), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais) and Nikki Walker (Ospreys).
Forwards: John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie (both Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, Ross Ford (both Edinburgh), Richie Gray, Dougie Hall, Robert Harley (all Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Scott MacLeod (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) and Richie Vernon and Jon Welsh (both Glasgow Warriors).
:: Additional players for the Scotland A squad to prepare for game v Irish Wolfhounds, Netherdale, Galashiels, Friday January 28, kick-off 7.30pm:
Backs: David Blair, Ben Cairns (both Edinburgh), Colin Gregor (Glasgow Warriors), John Houston, Lee Jones (both Edinburgh), Peter Murchie, Hefin O’Hare (both Glasgow Warriors) and Jim Thompson (Edinburgh).
Forwards: Roddy Grant (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Alan MacDonald, Stuart McInally, Fraser McKenzie (all Edinburgh), Alastair Muldowney, Fergus Thomson, Ryan Wilson (all Glasgow Warriors).