Hogg named in Scotland World Cup squad
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs newcomer Stuart Hogg has been named in Gregor Townsend's 31-man Scotland squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Hogg, who has moved to Sandy Park this summer from Glasgow Warriors, is one of five players from the Gallagher Premiership included for the tournament.
At a special launch at Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, hundreds of supporters turned out to see Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally announced as captain of a group that features a split of 17 forwards and 14 backs.
Townsend said: “Stuart has done a really good job in the opportunities he’s had to captain Scotland.
“He captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games. He’s a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others.”
Over a third (13) of the group have previous Rugby World Cup experience, with Edinburgh back-row John Barclay the only player preparing for a third campaign (having featured in 2007 and 2011).
The remainder are Glasgow Warriors quintet Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Pete Horne, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson, Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist and Willem Nel, plus Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Finn Russell (Racing 92) Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) and Hogg, who all featured in 2015.
Townsend, who was robbed off the services of Exeter's Sam Skinner after he picked up a serious hamstring injury in the warm-up clash against France at BT Murrayfield, added: “We’re delighted with the squad and believe we’ve picked a group capable of playing our best rugby and doing this consistently throughout the tournament.
“The players have worked hard to be in the best physical shape of their careers and we know that when they play to their potential they are capable of beating any team in the world.
“There were a number of tough calls given the quality of our wider training squad, and on the close decisions we’ve looked to select players that have strong defensive attributes and are willing to out-work their opposite number. Some very good players have missed out on selection this time, but they know they’ll have to keep working hard because, in a world cup, an opportunity can come around very quickly.”
Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019
John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 74 caps**
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Allan Dell (London Irish) – 24 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 36 caps*
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh, capt) – 29 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 31 caps*
Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) – 36 caps*
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 1 cap
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps*
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 9 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 69 caps*
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 73 caps*
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 42 caps*
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 46 caps*
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 22 caps
* Denotes Rugby World Cup experience