Scotland: Blade Thomson, Sam Skinner and Sam Johnson in Autumn Tests squad


Scarlets’ Blade Thomson is eligible for Scotland through a grandfather

Uncapped Blade Thomson, Sam Skinner and Sam Johnson have been named in Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend’s 40-man squad for the 2018 autumn Tests.

Scotland face Wales in Cardiff on 3 November then host Tests against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.

Exeter lock Skinner represented England at Under-20 level but qualifies through his father.

Australia-born Johnson qualifies on residency and New Zealand-born Thomson is eligible through a grandfather.

Among those missing from the squad through injury are British and Irish Lions full-back Stuart Hogg, Glasgow Warriors team-mate Zander Fagerson and fellow forwards John Barclay, of Edinburgh, and Richie Gray, now of Toulouse.

Along with other players based in England, France and Wales, Thomson, the 27-year-old who joined Scarlets this summer from Hurricanes, and 23-year-old Skinner will require permission from their clubs to be available for the match in Cardiff because it falls outside the Test window.

Johnson has spent three years with Glasgow Warriors and the 25-year-old has made 40 appearances so far.

Townsend said of the new faces: “We are looking forward to working with them.

“We had a productive summer tour in which a number of players made their first outing for their country.

“A lot of those players have continued to perform well for their clubs and have merited re-selection in a strong group.”

Alex Dunbar, Jonny Gray, Huw Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Maitland, Willem Nel, Gordon Reid, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour, Ryan Wilson and Hamish Watson all return to the squad either following injury or after having been given a rest.

Centre Matt Scott, who last played for Scotland in June 2017, and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, his Edinburgh team-mate who last featured in November, also return to the set-up.

“We’ve named a 40-man group for this campaign, which highlights the quality of player that is now available to us and the competition for places,” Townsend added.

“It also enables us to welcome more players into our training environment and hopefully give a few more players a taste of Test match rugby.

“It’s going to be an exciting year for the squad, but our primary focus is fixed on performing well against Wales – familiar opponents who have already recorded a win against us this year.”

Townsend has also invited Edinburgh duo Luke Crosbie, a back-row, and Darcy Graham, a wing, to train with the squad.

Scotland squad

Sam Skinner was involved with Scottish Exiles before joining Exeter Chiefs

Forwards: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh), David Denton (Leicester Tigers), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (London Irish), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)

Backs: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Fife (Edinburgh), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)

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