Weir cut adrift as Townsend opts for fresh blood at No10

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By GE­ORGE LAWRENCE

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

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