Rugby: Six Nations squad place for Hawick's Rory Sutherland
Hawick's Rory Sutherland is one of two uncapped players to be named in Vern Cotter's 35-man Scotland squad for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.
The 23-year-old prop currently plies his trade with Edinburgh Rugby and earns his selection through his increasingly impressive showings with the pro side.
A former Trinity Primary and Hawick High School pupil Rory came through the ranks with his hometown club and school sides before representing the Borders and Scotland at under-17 and under-18 in the back-row.
He switched to loosehead prop during his first season of senior rugby at Hawick RFC and, after a season with Biggar, caught the attention of RBS Premiership runners-up and Border League winners Gala RFC.
Fellow front row man Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) is the other uncapped player to be named and the young pair are among four changes to Scotland’s front-row options originally named for Rugby World Cup 2015, with 29-times capped Exeter Chiefs tighthead, Moray Low, and six-times capped Glasgow Warriors hooker, Pat MacArthur, earning selection for the first time since the summer of 2014.
Scotland will once again be captained by Jedburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester), who requires four appearances to mark a half-century caps and to equal David Sole’s record as most-times as Scotland captain (25).
Kelso hooker Ross Ford and Hawick’s flying full back Stuart Hogg make up the Borders contribution to the squad.
Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “We’ve selected a mixture of experience with some exciting young players coming through, some of whom have experienced the Rugby World Cup and are eager to move forward, take the RBS 6 Nations head on and show that we can develop our game and be competitive.
“I think there should be confidence. The guys have worked hard and improved. There are positive signs that we can compete, and this Championship will give us another opportunity to measure ourselves against very good opposition in a tough competition.
“The guys believe that we can compete, dominate and secure victories in these games.”
Some 23 players capped during Rugby World Cup 2015 have earned reselection – six missing out, at this juncture, through injury (Fraser Brown, Grant Gilchrist, Henry Pyrgos, Jon Welsh, Richie Vernon) and retirement (Alasdair Strokosch) – while Cotter has rewarded the form of back-row forwards John Barclay (Scarlets), Adam Ashe and Chris Fusaro (both Glasgow Warriors), and versatile Wasps back Ruaridh Jackson, with selection.
Other notable inclusions see centres Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) and Duncan Taylor (Saracens) recover from the injuries that ruled them out of last year’s international opportunities, despite winning Guinness PRO12 and English Premiership titles respectively.
Lock Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) have been invited to train with the squad when it convenes for a pre-Championship camp in St Andrews this Sunday, before returning to their clubs to continue their recovery from groin and wrist injuries respectively.
Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations campaign gets underway with the sold-out fixture against England at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 6 February (kick-off 4.50pm) – live on BBC.
Scotland squad for the RBS 6 Nations
Forwards: Ross Ford, Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 94 caps, Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps, Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 2 caps, Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 52 caps, Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped, Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs) – 29 caps, Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps, Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps, Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped, Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps, Richie Gray (Castres) – 51 caps, Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps, Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap, Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps, John Barclay (Scarlets) – 45 caps, Blair Cowan (London Irish) – 15 caps, Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps, John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps, Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps.
Backs: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps, Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester) – 46 caps, Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps, Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps, Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps, Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps, Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 15 caps
Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) – 33 caps, Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 12 caps, Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) – 101 caps, Sean Maitland (London Irish) – 20 caps, Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 23 caps, Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps, Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps) – 27 caps.
Training with the squad: Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps, Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps.