SCOTLAND TRAINING SQUAD FOR AUTUMN TEST
Frank Names His First Squad But Delays Naming Captain
Head coach Frank Hadden today named a Scotland squad of 34 for training at Murrayfield next Monday and Tuesday (October 3 and 4) but has yet to decide who will lead the side for the autumn Test series.
The squad, selected by Hadden and the head coaches at Border Reivers and Glasgow Warriors, Steve Bates and Hugh Campbell, respectively, includes three uncapped players, all back-row forwards, namely Simon Cross, Paul Dearlove and Andy Miller.
The trio, however, have had previous involvement with the national squad, Cross during the 2004 RBS 6 Nations Championship and most recently against the Barbarians last May in Aberdeen; and Dearlove and Miller who joined the 2004 Scotland tour of Australia as replacements.
Hadden explained what he is looking to achieve at the squad session. "Our focus at the session will be purely on organising the set piece, our attack and our defence. In the two days next week we will have four organisational sessions to begin our preparations for our Autumn Tests against Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand."
Turning to the selection, Hadden reflected on the level of competition at hooker and on the wing. "The competition for hooker is particularly intense and I'm delighted by the form being shown by Ross Ford, Dougie Hall and Scott Lawson.
"We also have some real depth on the wing and in our back three, players who we'll be looking to launch in the games ahead."
"As far as captaincy is concerned I will be speaking to my fellow coaches when we gather for the first time on Sunday night. We have a number of candidates for captain and we will be assessing leadership qualities and their aptitude for the job during the squad sessions over the next few weeks."
Hadden stresses that when it comes to the Murrayfield Autumn Test matches - v Argentina on 12 November, Samoa on 20 November and New Zealand on 26 November - he will look to choose players delivering consistent form.
And with that in mind he views the forthcoming Celtic League fixtures - Edinburgh Gunners v Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield this Friday (kick-off 7.30pm) and Border Reivers v Edinburgh Gunners at Netherdale next Friday (7 October) - as trial matches.
Seven players are listed as not available for selection through injury, including Reivers' stand-off Gregor Townsend, Scotland's most-capped player and Tom Philip who has been absent since the summer of 2004 but who has been making good progress in his rehabilitation.
Scotland squad for training at Murrayfield on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 October
Mike Blair (Edinburgh Gunners)*
Andy Craig (Glasgow Warriors)
Chris Cusiter (Border Reivers)*
Simon Danielli (Border Reivers)
Marcus Di Rollo (Edinburgh Gunners)
Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors)
Ben Hinshelwood (Worcester Warriors)
Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints)
Rory Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
Stuart Moffat (Border Reivers)
Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)
Chris Paterson (Edinburgh Gunners)
Gordon Ross (Leeds Tykes)
Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh Gunners)
Simon Webster (Edinburgh Gunners)
Kelly Brown (Border Reivers)*
Simon Cross (Edinburgh Gunners)
Paul Dearlove (Glasgow Warriors)
Bruce Douglas (Border Reivers)
Ross Ford (Border Reivers)*
Scott Gray (Border Reivers)
Dougie Hall (Edinburgh Gunners)
Craig Hamilton (Glasgow Warriors)
Allister Hogg (Edinburgh Gunners)*
Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Gunners)
Alastair Kellock (Edinburgh Gunners)*
Gavin Kerr (Leeds Tykes)
Scott Lawson (Glasgow Warriors)*
Andy Miller (Border Reivers)
Scott Murray (Edinburgh Gunners)
Craig Smith (Edinburgh Gunners)
Simon Taylor (Edinburgh Gunners)
Andrew Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)*
Jason White (Sale Sharks)
Injured - not available for selection
Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors)*
Donnie Macfadyen (Glasgow Warriors)
Scott MacLeod (Border Reivers)
Jon Petrie (Glasgow Warriors)
Tom Philip (Edinburgh Gunners)*
Robbie Russell (London Irish)
Gregor Townsend (Border Reivers)
*= Member of Scottish Institute of Sport