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Rugby | Six Nations

Uncapped 10 in Johnson's first Scotland squad



Scotland interim coach Scott Johnson included 10 uncapped players, including fast-tracked former Crusaders back Sean Maitland, in a 35-man squad for the Six Nations announced on Monday.

The Australian was promoted from within the backroom staff after former head coach Andy Robinson resigned following Scotland's morale-sapping 21-15 loss to Tonga in Aberdeen in November.

Johnson's task was complicated last week when veteran scrum-half Mike Blair retired from test duty and experienced centre Nick de Luca was sidelined for two months with a fractured eye socket.

Now Johnson, who once carried out a similar 'caretaker' role with Wales, has brought in several players yet to experience test rugby.

Among the uncapped players in the squad aside from former New Zealand Under-20 player Maitland are full-back Peter Murchie, wing Tommy Seymour, centres Alex Dunbar and Peter Horne, and scrum-half Sean Kennedy.

Up front, among those yet to play an international in the squad are back-rows Chris Fusaro and Ryan Wilson, lock Grant Gilchrist and hooker Pat MacArthur.

In all Glasgow, currently second in the Celtic League, provide 19 members of Johnson's squad with Edinburgh, Scotland's only other professional team, contributing just seven players, and the other nine playing club rugby abroad.

"We've chosen this squad with two parametres uppermost in our minds: current form and looking to the future," Johnson told Scottish Rugby's website.

"Where two players have been vying for the one spot in areas such as the back-row, we've gone with the form option.

"I've been impressed with a number of the young fellows who've helped Glasgow to second place in the Rabo (Celtic League), especially by their work ethic and determination to improve.

"This squad is for our training camp in Glasgow next week and we still have the option to add to it for the Six Nations."

Scotland's recent Six Nations record has been dire, with 12 defeats in 15 matches, allied to a mere two wins and a draw.

They begin this season's tournament away to arch-rivals England, when the latest edition of rugby's oldest international fixture takes place on February 2 at Twickenham – a ground where Scotland haven't won since 1983.

SQUAD

BACKS: Peter Murchie (Glasgow), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow), Sean Maitland (Glasgow), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Castres/FRA), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow) Peter Horne (Glasgow), Duncan Weir (Glasgow), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow), Tom Heathcote (Bath/ENG), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Sean Kennedy (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh)

FORWARDS: Alasdair Dickinson (Sale/ENG), Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Dougie Hall (Glasgow), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Worcester/ENG), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Moray Low (Glasgow), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Sale/ENG), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester/ENG), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Kelly Brown (Saracens/ENG), Robert Harley (Glasgow), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier/FRA), David Denton (Edinburgh), Richie Vernon (Sale/ENG), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow)



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