Former Melrose man Lewis Carmichael is one of six uncapped players named by head coach Gregor Townsend in Scotland’s 33-man squad for next month’s Summer Tour to Canada, USA and Argentina.
The potential debutants are split between the touring forwards and backs, with Edinburgh Rugby’s Carmichael and Jamie Ritchie joined by Glasgow Warriors back-row Matt Fagerson in the pack.
Glasgow Warriors half-backs George Horne and Adam Hastings earn the opportunity to continue a stellar debut season on the tour, alongside former Scotland U18 and Harlequins midfielder, James Lang, who also gets the call.
Carmichael, a BT Premiership winner with the Greenyards squad in 2014, is joined by several other players with Borders connections – now fairly regular fixtures in the Scotland squad – Stuart Hogg, Jamie Bhatti, Lee Jones and Alex Dunbar.
Coach Townsend said: “There are twin goals for this tour – the first is to build on the work we’ve done so far this season and finish with improved performances.
“We also have the Rugby World Cup in our thoughts, as this will be our last tour before we leave for Japan next year.
“Touring and staying together for four weeks and experiencing different environments will be very informative – seeing how players get on with each other, how much they improve and how they rise to each challenge we face on tour.”
The squad, which has an average age of 25 and just two players aged 30 or above, also features notable absentees with Townsend giving a number of squad regulars an extended break, one year out from Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
With John Barclay rested, Townsend has handed the tour captaincy to hooker Stuart McInally for the first time, a just reward for consistently-impressive performances for club and country. The squad consists of:
Forwards – Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Lewis Carmichael, Allan Dell, David Denton, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Luke Hamilton, Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally (capt), Jamie Ritchie, Tim Swinson, George Turner and Ben Toolis.
Backs – Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Alex Dunbar, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Pete Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price and Duncan Taylor.
On the Summer Tour, the Scots will play Canada in Edmonton on June 9, then the USA in Houston on June 16, followed by Argentina in Resistencia over the weekend of June 22.
The 2018 Autumn Tests programme begins with a trip to Cardiff to play Wales on November 3, followed by three matches on successive Saturdays at BT Murrayfield – Fiji on November 10, South Africa on November 17 and Argentina on November 24.