Robinson names seven rookies in Scotland squad

The seven new faces named by Andy Robinson (Credit: Scottish Rugby Union)

Scotland coach Andy Robinson named seven uncapped players in his 34 man squad quad for training at St Andrews next week in preparation for the first EMC Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield next month.

Edinburgh pair Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist join Glasgows’ Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour and Henry Pyrgos as the untested players named.

The addition of five uncapped players from Glasgow can be seen as a reward for their strong start to the season.

Scotland won all three tests on their summer tour against Australia, Fiji and Samoa and Robinson is keen to get the players back in the groove to build on this success. He said: “It’s some four months since Scotland last played an international so when the squad reconvenes there’ll be an element of renewing acquaintances and reigniting the spark and spirit that was such a key part of our success on our summer tour.”

However, Robinson is only too aware of the monumental challenge presented by the all conquering All Blacks, a side Scotland have never defeated. He said: “New Zealand are formidable opponents. They do the basics exceptionally well and play with a pace and ruthlessness. It’s no co-incidence that they are the best team in the world.

We must look to build on the physical commitment of our players against Australia, Fiji and Samoa. As ever the Scotland supporters are right behind us and with more than 55,000 tickets sold already for our game against New Zealand, the players are determined to give their all.”

The coach delayed naming a captain until next week with last seasons skipper Ross Ford and Saracens Kelly Brown, who returns to the squad after injury, the frontrunners for the armband.

Scotland squad (sponsor RBS) for training camp at St Andrews 29-31 October in preparation for the EMC Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday 11 November (kick-off 2.30pm)

Backs: Mike Blair (Brive), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne and Ruaridh Jackson (all Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw (both Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Peter Murchie, Henry Pyrgos (both Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) and Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby)

Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton, Ross Ford and Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (London Irish), Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) and Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby).

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Scotland face wooden spoon decider

Andy Robinson - Copyright SRU

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has called on his side to tighten up defensively if they are to avoid a seventh successive defeat in Rome on Saturday.

After seeing the Scots concede 32 points against Ireland last weekend Robinson said: “What we have to improve is that ruthless edge within our own third. We have conceded soft scores and that is why we are in the position we are in. And if we concede soft scores this weekend we will be in a similar position. If we defend and are able to keep that concentration for 80 minutes and attack as we have been developing then we will win the game.”

Many were surprised that Robinson chose to only make one change to the starting line up with a fit again Nick De Luca coming in at outside centre with Max Evans moving to the wing to replace Lee Jones. Robinson defended his selection saying: “They are in because of the improvements shown in the first three games. This is where we are and this is the best team I feel we have to go out and win the game.”

Ross Ford - copyright SRU

Earlier captain Ross Ford had expressed his frustration and anger over last Saturday’s performance saying that he was “raging” after the match. Ford went on to say: “It was the worst I have felt after a game for a long time as I thought we were past that (level of performance).” Hear more of Ford’s press conference below.

Ross Ford Press Conference

One player who is itching for Saturday to arrive is De Luca. After suffering much criticism over his performance and yellow card against Wales he had played his way back into the starting line up for last weekend with an eye-catching display as a substitute against France. A hamstring injury robbed him of that opportunity but he is raring to go against the French saying: “When you are playing well you want to carry on and you are in a good head space but I think I still am and I am looking forward to this weekend.”

Go to our facebook page to hear an interview with Scotland prop Geoff Cross from this weeks press conference.

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