Scotland, Ireland’s first World Cup opponents, name 42-man training squad

SCOTLAND HAVE NAMED a 42-man training squad ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where they will face Joe Schmidt’s Ireland in their opening fixture on 22 September.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has omitted experienced Toulouse lock Richie Gray, although he has kept the door open by indicating that there are a further two spaces in the group for players who impress in the closing stages of the club season.

Among the 42 players named is the uncapped back row Blade Thomson, the New Zealand native who joined Scarlets last summer but has been injured for the majority of the campaign.

Ireland face Scotland in Yokohama on 22 September. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 28-year-old back row/lock recently returned to action, however, and has been included alongside fellow uncapped players Rory Hutchinson, a midfielder with Northampton Saints, and Grant Stewart, the Glasgow hooker.

Edinburgh back row John Barclay is line for his third World Cup if still involved when Townsend whittles his squad down to 31 before the tournament.

Overall, Glasgow have 17 players in the wider training squad, while Edinburgh have 13 and there are 12 players from clubs outside Scotland.

Among the other notable omissions from the training squad are Worcester out-half Duncan Weir and Edinburgh midfielders Matt Scott and Mark Bennett.

Scotland’s World Cup preparations include a training camp in Portugal – like Schmidt’s Ireland – as well as home-and-away friendlies against France and Georgia.

Scotland training squad:

Forwards (23):

John Barclay (Edinburgh) 71 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) 19 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 13 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) 7 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 42 caps
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) 22 caps
Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 19 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) 33 caps
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) 2 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 51 caps
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) 27 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) 29 caps
Gordon Reid (London Irish) 34 caps
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) 10 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) 5 caps
Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) 22 caps
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) uncapped
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) 18 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 5 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) 25 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) 43 caps

Backs (19):

Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) 4 caps
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) 9 caps
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) 8 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 67 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 41 caps
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) uncapped
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 21 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 11 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) 71 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) 40 caps
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) 8 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 24 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) 27 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) 44 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 50 caps
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) 21 caps. 

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