Autumn Internationals: Vern Cotter reveals 33-man Scotland squad with Grant Gilchrist captain
Last Updated: 20/10/14 8:46pm
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named his 33-man squad for the autumn internationals, with eight-cap lock Grant Gilchrist handed the captaincy.
Argentina are the first visitors to Murrayfield on November 8 with world champions New Zealand arriving in Edinburgh the following week, before a final showdown with Tonga in Kilmarnock on November 22.
It’s essential that we show maturity, mental strength and adaptability throughout the series. We have a good group, but the most important thing is that we play for each other, we play for the shirt, and we enjoy what we do.
Edinburgh second-row Gilchrist led Scotland twice during the nation's summer tour, including in the 21-19 victory over Argentina in Cordoba.
Glasgow’s flying start to the Guinness PRO 12 campaign has been reflected in Cotter’s selection, with 17 Warriors among the 33-man squad.
“The most important thing for us, other than showing improvements in key areas, is developing an attack that will give us opportunities to score tries or earn points through teams being forced to infringe,” Cotter told Scottish Rugby.
“We want to develop, and impose, our style, will, and strategy on our opposition. We want to play well, and enjoy playing in front of our home crowd.”
Glasgow outside centre Mark Bennett is the lone uncapped player selected; the 21-year-old’s inclusion comes after he grabbed a brace of tries in a bonus-point victory over Bath in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Saturday.
Bennett was selected for last season’s autumn Tests but did not take the field and missed Scotland’s summer tour because of commitments to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
As he prepares to take charge of his first series in Scotland, Cotter - who is without David Denton, Ryan Grant, Ruaridh Jackson, Matt Scott and Ryan Wilson due to injury - has been quick to acknowledge the threat posed by November’s visitors.
“Argentina will offer us a very stern test, especially scrum time,” he added. “They have good variety and move the ball well from nine, through the middle of the paddock and out the back.
"The All Blacks have just won the Rugby Championship and are the best team in the world, so we'll have to be on our toes.
“Defensively, we’re going to get tested, which is good because we want to show that our defence has improved.
“It’s essential that we show maturity, mental strength and adaptability throughout the series. We have a good group, but the most important thing is that we play for each other, we play for the shirt, and we enjoy what we do.”
Forwards: Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors), Johnnie Beattie (Castres), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Cowan, Geoff Cross (both London Irish), Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (both Edinburgh), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (c) (Edinburgh), Robert Harley, Jonny Gray (both Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Kieran Low (London Irish), Euan Murray, Gordon Reid (both Glasgow Warriors) Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors).
Backs: Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Cusiter (Sale Sharks), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Fife, Tom Heathcote (both Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester), Sean Lamont, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos, Tommy Seymour (all Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors).