Double fitness boost for Scotland
Nathan Hines and Alasdair Strokosch have handed Scotland a much-needed fitness boost ahead of next Saturday's RBS 6 Nations game in Italy.
Leinster lock Hines was forced to pull out of the team for last weekend's dramatic defeat in Wales with calf and ankle injuries, while Gloucester flanker Strokosch missed his country's opening two matches of the tournament with an ankle problem.
But both were named on Friday in a 36-man squad for Scotland and Scotland A's games against their Italian counterparts.
The enlarged party will gather at Murrayfield on Sunday and train together on Monday and Tuesday, while additional players will be called up for Scotland A duty next week.
Scotland, who have lost their opening two Six Nations matches, play Italy at the Stadio Flamini next Saturday, while Scotland A face Italy A in Biella the previous day.
Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby confirmed Thom Evans had undergone his second bout of neck surgery at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
Scotland wing Evans suffered a serious injury after colliding with Wales' Lee Byrne at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and had an operation that evening.
Team doctor James Robson, who has already ruled Evans out for the season, said: "Thom, after discussion with his family and the surgeons who performed his initial operation, elected to undergo a second procedure to enhance his recovery.
"This surgery has now taken place. Thom is in good spirits and the surgeons are delighted with his progress. Thom has asked me to pass on his heartfelt thanks to the thousands of people who have expressed their support."
Chris Paterson was set to return to Edinburgh from Cardiff on Friday after recovering sufficiently from the kidney injury that he suffered at the Millennium Stadium.