By Eve McTiernan
It’s that time of year again! After months of working hard, brushing up on skills, making sure you are fit in time for the Six Nations call, it is finally here. Yesterday afternoon, Gregor Townsend named his 39-man squad for the tournament. However, in true Townsend fashion, it is an unexpected selection.
From the backs, Adam Hastings, Huw Jones, Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson and George Horne all miss out on this year’s tournament despite their outstanding performances for their respective clubs.
In the forwards, Glasgow’s Oli Kebble and double centurion Robert Harley miss out, as well as Edinburgh’s Dave Cherry. What is Townsend’s plan? Kinghorn is good but nowhere near the level needed to be successful 10 in the tournament. Has Harley been snubbed due to Jonny’s return? Leaving Kebble and Cherry out is putting a lot of pressure on the likes of Ashman to perform and perform to a very high level.
It is not all doom and gloom though, as young Cameron Redpath returns after being out injured for the last 8 months. The squad also see the return of promising hooker, Ewan Ashman and second row Jamie Hodgson after the pair had explosive debuts during the Autumn Series.
Glasgow’s unstoppable Sione Tuipulotu also returns after many jaw dropping performances for the club since the Autumn Series finished. Exeter’s Jonny Gray also makes his return to the squad after missing out on the Autumn due to injury.
Overall, the squad is strong and on paper definitely have the potential to do well and go far in the tournament. But we all know the Six Nations always comes with more drama and twists than an episode of Eastenders, so we will need to wait and see what is to come.
Forwards: Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Andy Christie, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Nick Haining, Jamie Hodgson, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner, Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Hamish Watson.
Backs: Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg (captain), Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Rufus McLean, Ali Price, Cameron Redpath, Kyle Rowe, Finn Russell, Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Ben Vellacott, Ben White.