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McInally named captain as Scotland’s World Cup selection revealed

McInally named captain as Scotland’s World Cup selection revealed
  • McInally captained Scotland at the end of the 2019 Championship and in warm-ups against France and Georgia
  • Townsend leaves out Huw Jones and Rory Hutchinson as Chris Harris gets nod in midfield
  • Magnus Bradbury and Matt Fagerson miss out in the back row as Blade Thomson earns selection
  • Scotland's World Cup campaign begins against Ireland on 22 September

Stuart McInally will captain Scotland this autumn at the Rugby World Cup after Gregor Townsend announced his 31-man squad to head to Japan.

McInally will lead a squad packed with experience with loyal lieutenants in John Barclay and Greig Laidlaw who have both captained their country before alongside him.

Townsend’s toughest calls came in midfield and the back row.

In the centres Sam Johnson’s Guinness Six Nations form of earlier this year earns him selection where he is joined by the fit-again Duncan Taylor, Peter Horne and Chris Harris.

That means Huw Jones and breakthrough star Rory Hutchinson both miss out while in the back row the tough cuts are Josh Strauss, Magnus Bradbury and Matt Fagerson.

As a result, Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson and Jamie Ritchie are joined by in the back row by Scarlets’ Blade Thomson who only made his debut this summer.

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Elsewhere, Townsend has gone for five props with Simon Berghan providing the versatile cover on loose and tighthead sides.

Scott Cummings gets the nod following his debut in Nice last month in the second row along with Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis.

Fellow youngsters Adam Hastings, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn and George Horne join an experienced back line that includes British & Irish Lions like Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland.

Scotland’s final warm-up game sees them welcome Georgia on Friday night and Townsend cannot wait: “It’s been a tough process getting down to 31 but we are very happy with the squad we have selected.

“Last night the players knew who were in the squad so we talked about Japan and what the next few weeks and days look like.

“We still have an important job to do on Friday night, which is to win.

“Stuart captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games.

“He’s a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others.”

McInally added: “We can’t wait to get out there. But we are excited to get to BT Murrayfield and put in a good performance.

“I won’t be short of people to lean on in that regard. We will take every game as it comes, every game we will try and win and hopefully finish that group as high as we can and then it is knockout rugby.”

Scotland’s 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup:

Forwards
Stuart McInally (captain)
John Barclay
Simon Berghan
Fraser Brown
Scott Cummings
Allan Dell
Zander Fagerson
Grant Gilchrist
Jonny Gray
WP Nel
Gordon Reid
Jamie Ritchie
Ben Toolis
George Turner
Blade Thomson
Hamish Watson
Ryan Wilson

Backs
Darcy Graham
Adam Hastings
Chris Harris
Stuart Hogg
George Horne
Peter Horne
Sam Johnson
Blair Kinghorn
Greig Laidlaw
Sean Maitland
Ali Price
Finn Russell
Tommy Seymour
Duncan Taylor