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Scotland name seven uncapped players in squad for Guinness Six Nations

Scotland name seven uncapped players in squad for Guinness Six Nations

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend named seven uncapped players in his squad for the Guinness Six Nations next month.

Hookers David Cherry (Edinburgh), Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) and Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) have all been called up due to injuries to Fraser Brown and George Turner.

Other uncapped players include back row Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) and tighthead prop D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), with centres Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) and Chris Dean (Edinburgh) the only uncapped backs.

Of the players selected for the Guinness Six Nations, former Scotland U20 caps Cherry, Kerr and Dean are the only players to have no previous involvement with the senior national side, with the others selected in extended or training squads in recent seasons.

Townsend said: “There’s certainly been a lot of improvement from this group of players in recent seasons and I believe there’s much more to come. They’ve a genuine desire to get better and reach their potential in what is a huge year for our sport.

“In the past 18 months we’ve played 18 Test matches and have introduced 18 new players to Test-level rugby.

“Once again, our squad features players aiming to take that step, which is a testimony to their performances this season and the growing strength in depth of Scottish rugby.

“We are very proud of what a number of our players have achieved since the Autumn Tests, particularly with Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors both aiming to make the last eight of the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time and both sitting in strong positions in their respective Guinness PRO14 conferences.

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“We’ve also seen some excellent performances from players representing clubs in France and England, which is a credit to their commitment and work ethic.”

Scotland will look to build on a third-place finish in last year’s Championship, where they beat France, England and Italy, and will start their competition against the Azzurri at BT Murrayfield on February 2.

And Townsend is confident his side will be well-prepared for the visit of Conor O’Shea’s side, who the Scots edged out in Rome in round five a year ago.

He added: “It is a privilege for our players to be involved in the Guinness Six Nations, which is such a prestigious tournament and will be highly competitive once again.

“We look forward to taking on the challenge of Italy and working hard as a squad over the next two weeks to deliver a winning performance.”

SCOTLAND SQUAD FOR 2019 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS

FORWARDS: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow); Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers), Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors), Gary Graham (Newcastle), John Hardie (Newcastle), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).

BACKS: Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Dean (Edinburgh), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Finn Russell (Racing 92), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors).