Rugby-Townsend eyes new talent with 12 uncapped players in squad

FILE PHOTO-Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Italy - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - March 20, 2021 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend before the game REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) -Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has named 12 uncapped players in his squad for the autumn internationals starting later this month as he casts his net far and wide two years out from the next Rugby World Cup in France.

That includes the South African-born duo of loose forward Dylan Richardson and prop Pierre Schoeman, as well as Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Rory Darge, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes among the forwards.

The uncapped backs all come from Glasgow Warriors as wing Rufus McLean, scrumhalf Jamie Dobie, flyhalf Ross Thompson and centre Sione Tuipulotu all hope to get their chance in matches against Tonga on Oct. 30, and then Australia, South Africa and Japan on consecutive weekends after that.

"There have been some notable performances from both our home-based players and those at clubs outside of Scotland, which has enabled us as coaches to select a group which are playing well and will be motivated across the four games," Townsend said in a media release from Scottish Rugby on Wednesday.

"We also feel that this the right time to bring in some younger players given their early season form. They have created opportunities for themselves to represent their country and we believe that they will thrive in the Test match environment."

Also returning to the squad are the full complement of Scotland’s British & Irish Lions who lost the series in South Africa 2-1 earlier this year, where Townsend was attack coach for the tourists.

That includes Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, and the half-back pairing of Ali Price and Finn Russell.

"We face four tough matches in four weeks and each present a different challenge and an opportunity to perform in front of our people at Murrayfield," Townsend said.

Forwards: Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Luke Crosbie, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Nick Haining, Rob Harley, Jamie Hodgson, Oli Kebble, Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally, Dylan Richardson, Jamie Ritchie, Sam Skinner, Pierre Schoeman, Rory Sutherland, Marshall Sykes, George Turner, Hamish Watson

Backs: Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Jamie Dobie, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Damien Hoyland, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Duhan van de Merwe, Rufus McLean, Ali Price, Finn Russell, Matt Scott, Kyle Steyn, Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu.

(Reporting by Nick SaidEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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