Fresh start for Scotland in SA
Tue, 07 May 2013 11:50
It's a strong squad designed to win Test matches
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson included nine uncapped players in a 31-man squad for next month's international tournament in South Africa.
Glasgow backs Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie and Tommy Seymour are among the newcomers, as are fullback Greig Tonks and wing Duncan Taylor while up front hookers Steven Lawrie and Pat MacArthur, as well as lock Tim Swinson will also look to make a Test debut.
Johnson could have stuck with a largely established side given only three Scotland players - fullback Stuart Hogg, wing Sean Maitland and lock Richie Gray - won selection for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.
But the Australian, who won plaudits for guiding Scotland to third place in this season's Six Nations Championship, decided now was a good time to have a look at some emerging talent.
However, 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 knock-out stages of the Rabo (Celtic League).
"We are taking the opportunity to have a look at some players and want to assess what they're like at this level. We need to be able to find out whether players who've done the business for their clubs can replicate that form in international footy.
"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 meet for a three-day training camp in Perthshire and the Highlands on May 27 before flying out to South Africa on May 31.
Scotland play on three successive Saturdays with the first game against Samoa in Durban on June 8 before they face the Springboks in Nelspruit.
Johnson is due to take up a new post as the Scottish Rugby Union's director of rugby but will remain coach until such time as a replacement is found, with the former caretaker Wales boss in charge of Scotland in South Africa.
Squad: Alex Dunbar, Tom Heathcote, Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Lamont, Peter Murchie, Henry Pyrgos, Matt Scott, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Greig Tonks, Tim Visser, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie, Kelly Brown (captain), Geoff Cross, David Denton, Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist, Ryan Grant, Jim Hamilton, Alastair Kellock, Steven Lawrie, Moray Low, Pat MacArthur, Euan Murray, Alasdair Strokosch, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson.
June 8 v Samoa, King's Park, Durban
June 15 v South Africa, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
June 22 v TBC, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
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