Weir cut adrift as Townsend opts for fresh blood at No10
NEW Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has called up three uncapped players to his squad for the summer tour, which will be captained by the rejuvenated John Barclay.
The Glasgow duo of New Zealand-born centre Nick Grigg and tight-head prop D’Arcy Rae, plus Edinburgh hooker George Turner, are the new faces.
However, having been included in the match-day 23 for every one of Scotland’s Six Nations matches this season – coming off the bench in four of them – Duncan Weir has been dropped.
Townsend has picked two fly-halves, but Finn Russell’s understudy is now Glasgow’s Peter Horne. Ruaridh Jackson, of Harlequins, has also been selected.
Edinburgh prop Willem Nel is also recalled, along with Lee Jones and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.
Townsend, who succeeds Vern Cotter as national coach is relishing the prospect of what he called “a challenging tour of three different countries, playing three quality sides”.
“This tour is all about learning and competing,” he said. “We will be learning more about our players and how they perform in a different environment against three sides with contrasting styles of play.
“The 34 players named today are selected not just for their form and what they’ve done in a Scotland jersey up to now but for what they can do over the next couple of years.”
Glasgow wing Jones, 28, Harlequins full-back Jackson and Edinburgh scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne benefit from the absence of Tommy Seymour, Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw, who are in the British & Irish Lions squad.
Scotland will play a Test against Italy in Singapore on June 10 before tackling Australia in Sydney on June 17 and Fiji in Suva on June 24.
Grigg, 24, signed for Glasgow at the start of the season after impressing for Stirling County and has established himself as a regular in the Warriors’ midfield.
Rae, 22, is a qualified community coach and represented Scotland throughout the age-grades.
D’Arcy Rae has shown promise when given opportunities with Glasgow. He replaces Edinburgh tighthead Simon Berghan, who along with club-mates Cornell du Preez, Grant Gilchrist and Duncan Weir, is left out of the squad.
Turner, 24, made his first start in 14 appearances for Edinburgh only last month, and takes over from the injured Stuart McInally as the third hooker behind established duo Ross Ford and Fraser Brown.
Emerging Edinburgh flanker Magnus Bradbury, 21, also returns to the senior squad after making his Test debut last autumn against Argentina.
Nel, who has not played for Edinburgh since aggravating a neck injury just before the Six Nations, and No.8 Josh Strauss, sidelined since an injury against France in the Six Nations, are both included.
Centres Huw Jones and Mark Bennett, plus props Al Dickinson and Rory Sutherland, remain on the injured list.
Saracens wing Sean Maitland is a doubt for the tour due ankle ligament damage.
Understudy: Peter Horne