Six Nations

Scotland pick Cornell du Preez, Huw Jones

Huw Jones (Getty Images)
Huw Jones (Getty Images)

London - Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend on Tuesday named four uncapped players in a 40-man squad for the Six Nations and welcomed back a clutch of experienced internationals.

Scotland finished fourth in last year's tournament with victories against Ireland, Wales and Italy. The Scots ended 2017 with a narrow loss to the All Blacks and a spectacular 53-24 win over Australia.

The potential debutants are Edinburgh trio Blair Kinghorn (fullback), Nathan Fowles (scrumhalf) and Murray McCallum (prop) plus Glasgow prop D'Arcy Rae.

There are also two players with South African connections in the squad, namely loose forward Cornell du Preez and centre Huw Jones.

Du Preez, a former Southern Kings player, boasts five caps for his adopted country, while Edinburgh-born Jones is a former Stormers and Western Province star.

The squad is also boosted by the return of several experienced players, absent from recent campaigns, including scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, lock Richie Gray, centres Mark Bennett and Duncan Taylor and loose forward David Denton. 

Laidlaw, Gray and Bennett have not featured for the dark blues since last year's championship, while it was 2015 when returning prop Jon Welsh last saw international action and longer still for veteran hooker Scott Lawson. 

Scarlets backrow John Barclay will continue to captain the side. He took the mantle from Laidlaw in last year's championship and led Scotland to victories in six of nine Tests. 

"With the announcement of this 40-man squad, we are now entering the key stages of our preparation for this year's" Six Nations, said Townsend. 

"It's a bigger squad than we originally planned - which is largely down to the competition for places - with a number of players having performed well in the autumn Tests and a few others putting their hands up for selection in recent weeks."

Scotland squad:

Forwards (21): John Barclay, captain (Scarlets), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), David Denton (Worcester), Cornell du Preez (Edinburgh), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Luke Hamilton (Leicester), Rob Harley (Glasgow), Scott Lawson (Newcastle), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (London Irish), D'Arcy Rae (Glasgow), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Jon Welsh (Newcastle), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow)

Backs (19): Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Nick Grigg (Glasgow), Chris Harris (Newcastle), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow), Pete Horne (Glasgow), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow), Huw Jones (Glasgow), Lee Jones (Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale), Ali Price (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Finn Russell (Glasgow), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Nathan Fowles (Edinburgh)

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