Borders’ four make Six Nations squad

Jedburgh's Greig Laidlaw will captain the 2015 Scotland Six Nations squad
Jedburgh's Greig Laidlaw will captain the 2015 Scotland Six Nations squad

Greig Laidlaw (captain), Stuart Hogg, Geoff Cross and Ross Ford have avoided the axe being wielded by new Scotland rugby head coach Vern Cotter.

The quartet have been named in a Six Nations squad which features four uncapped players while significant omissions include former skipper and Melrose man Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie and Chris Cusiter.

Cotter has targeted form and youthful ambition with selection of the Scotland squad for the forthcoming tournament.

Among the 32 men are four young Edinburgh Rugby players who have been offered their first shot at senior international honours: 21-year-old scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22-year-old forwards Ben Toolis (lock) and Hugh Blake (back-row), and 24-year-old back-row Hamish Watson.

Blake, who only arrived in Scotland in December played an influential role in Melrose’s 32-8 victory over Hawick in their BT Premiership clash last week.

Speaking at the squad announcement this week Cotter said: “I’m very confident that the players selected will underline the improvements we showed in the autumn as well as some others as the group continues to come together.

“We are approaching this RBS 6 Nations looking to perform and develop. It will be a great process for us and I know the players are looking forward to it.

“We start with a very difficult game against France in Paris and we will prepare as best as possible for that game and adapt as the competition evolves.

“The players will want to characterise the traditional traits of the Scottish game; attacking with ferocity, destabilising the opposition and trying to play smart.”

SCOTLAND 2015 RBS 6 NATIONS SQUAD:

FORWARDS: Hugh Blake (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Cowan, Geoff Cross (both London Irish), David Denton, Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Rob Harley, Euan Murray, Gordon Reid (all Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Ben Toolis, Hamish Watson (both Edinburgh Rugby), Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors).

BACKS: Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar, (Glasgow Warriors) Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby), Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne (both Glasgow Warriors) Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester), Sean Lamont, Sean Maitland, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell (all Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Tonks, Tim Visser (both Edinburgh Rugby).

Unavailable through injury: Adam Ashe (neck), Chris Fusaro (ankle), Grant Gilchrist (arm), Tyrone Holmes (face), Ruaridh Jackson (knee), Duncan Taylor (hamstring), Duncan Weir (arm).