Raft of new faces for Scotland in Six Nations squad
SCOTLAND interim head coach Scott Johnson has named 10 uncapped players in a 35-man squad for a training camp in Glasgow next week ahead of their RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Johnson, looking to impress in his role after taking the reins from Andy Robinson late last year, suffered a double blow last week with Mike Blair retiring and Nick de Luca ruled out for two months due to a fractured eye socket.
The former Ospreys coach has therefore opted to take a look at several promising players, with back-row forwards Ryan Wilson and Chris Fusaro, scrum-half Sean Kennedy, hooker Pat MacArthur and wing Sean Maitland named in a Scotland squad for the first time.
Kennedy began the season as an elite development player with Edinburgh but several injuries at Glasgow gave him an opportunity to impress in the number nine shirt with the Warriors and the 21-year-old now has the chance to fill the vacancy left by Brive half-back Blair, who stepped down from the international game on Monday.
Among Johnson's other options to take over from Blair - who played more games for Scotland than any other scrum-half - are Edinburgh stand-off Greig Laidlaw, who has operated at number nine for Scotland in the past, or Henry Pyrgos.
New Zealand-born Maitland qualifies for Scotland through grandparents and has made an impact at Glasgow following his arrival from the Crusaders in October and he will also be looking to impress.
Full-back Peter Murchie, wing Tommy Seymour, centres Alex Dunbar and Peter Horne and lock Grant Gilchrist are the other uncapped players in the squad.
Johnson told Scotland Rugby's official website: "We've chosen this squad with two parameters uppermost in our minds: current form and looking to the future.
"Where two players have been vying for the one spot in areas such as the back-row, we've gone with the form option.
"I've been impressed with a number of the young fellows who've helped Glasgow to second place in the Rabo, especially by their work ethic and determination to improve.
"This squad is for our training camp in Glasgow next week and we still have the option to add to it for the Six Nations."
There is no room in the squad for Newcastle scrum-half Rory Lawson, although Johnnie Beattie, Alasdair Dickinson, Moray Low, Robert Harley and Duncan Weir have all been recalled after missing out on selection for the EMC Autumn Test matches.
Glasgow currently sit in second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table and their fine form this season has been reflected in the Scotland squad, with 19 Warriors players selected, while there are just seven representatives from Edinburgh.
The squad will met on January 20 for a three-day training camp ahead of their Six Nations opener with England on February 2.
Scotland squad for training camp in Glasgow ahead of Six Nations:
Backs: P Murchie, S Hogg, S Maitland, T Seymour, S Lamont (all Glasgow), T Visser (Edinburgh), M Evans (Castres), M Scott (Edinburgh), A Dunbar, P Horne, D Weir, R Jackson (all Glasgow), T Heathcote (Bath), H Pyrgos, S Kennedy (both Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh).
Forwards: A Dickinson (Sale), R Grant, D Hall, P MacArthur (all Glasgow), R Ford (Edinburgh), E Murray (Worcester), G Cross (Edinburgh), M Low, A Kellock (both Glasgow), R Gray (Sale), J Hamilton (Gloucester), G Gilchrist (Edinburgh), K Brown (Saracens), R Harley, R Wilson (both Glasgow), J Beattie (Montpellier), D Denton (Edinburgh), R Vernon (Sale), C Fusaro (Glasgow).