Richie Gray and Duncan Weir have missed out on places in Scotland’s 42-man training squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup, but three uncapped players have been included.
Gray, who has 65 caps for Scotland, has continually battled injury problems in recent years, the lock returning from hip surgery for Toulouse in January but failing to force his way back into the international picture.
Fly-half Weir has also been overlooked for a recall following a fine season with Worcester Warriors, his last cap having come back in March 2017.
The trio of uncapped stars include Grant Stewart and Blade Thomson, who have been involved with squads previously, while there is a first call-up for Northampton Saints centre Rory Hutchinson.
John Barclay is in the mix as he targets a third World Cup – after playing in 2007 and 2011 – and Duncan Taylor has been included despite suffering a serious knee injury last September.
The likes of Gray and Weir could yet be called up, as head coach Gregor Townsend has left a further two vacant places in the squad for players who impress in the final weeks of the club season.
BREAKING | Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named a 42-man training squad in preparation for #RWC2019 in Japan.
A further two spaces in the squad remain unfulfilled with Townsend keeping the door open for those operating at the business end of the season. pic.twitter.com/HpbNaYKAhZ
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) May 7, 2019
Townsend said: “We made a conscious decision to keep squad numbers low, which enables us to do more work with those most likely to be on the plane to Japan.
“We’re really excited to work with this group of players who will now compete hard for a place in the final 31-man group going to the World Cup.
“There are of course a number of very good players who have missed out – players who have been unlucky with injuries this year or haven’t hit form at the right time – while others are unlucky to lose out on some very close decisions.”
Scotland have home and away Test matches against both France and Georgia to come before the World Cup in Japan.
Scotland squad in full:
Forwards: John Barclay, Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Gary Graham, Jonny Gray, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Gordon Reid, Jamie Ritchie, Sam Skinner, Grant Stewart, Josh Strauss, Blade Thomson, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.
Backs: Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Pete Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta