Skip to content

Scotland Rugby World Cup training squad: Jamie Ritchie captains extended 41-player group named by Gregor Townsend

Scotland announce extended 41-player Rugby World Cup training squad ahead of the tournament kicking off in France in September; squad will ultimately be cut down to 33 players; Edinburgh back-row Jamie Ritchie named captain; head coach Gregor Townsend has also signed new contract

Jamie Ritchie, Gregor Townsend, Finn Russell
Image: Captain Jamie Ritchie, head coach Gregor Townsend and playmaker Finn Russell will be looking to leave a mark at the World Cup in France this September

Gregor Townsend has named an extended 41-player Scotland Rugby World Cup training squad, captained by Edinburgh back-row Jamie Ritchie.

The squad will be trimmed down to 33 players ahead of the World Cup in France, which begins in September, with Scotland taking on South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Romania in a tough Pool B.

Townsend, fresh from signing a new three-year contract to 2026 on Tuesday, named only two uncapped players in the panel, in the shape of Leicester Tigers second-row Cameron Henderson and Glasgow Warriors centre Stafford McDowall.

Exeter Chiefs second row Jonny Gray has not been included after suffering a knee injury recently, while Fraser Brown and Mark Bennett are among the most notable absentees.

Jamie Ritchie of Scotland
Image: Ritchie captains a 41-player extended Scotland Rugby World Cup training squad

Glasgow flanker Rory Darge and Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham return to the fold after injury, for their first Test involvements of 2023.

Gregor Townsend
Image: Townsend signed a new contract to remain as Scotland head coach until 2026 on Tuesday

Four players within the training group will represent Scotland at a third Rugby World Cup if they are selected in the final cut: tighthead WP Nel, lock Grant Gilchrist, fly-half Finn Russell and full-back Stuart Hogg (all featured in 2015 and 2019) - with the latter retiring from rugby after the tournament.

The 41-player group will gather for an initial training camp on May 29, and will face warm-up matches vs France, Italy and Georgia at Murrayfield in July and August, as well as France away in St Etienne.

Also See:

Scotland's Stuart Hogg
Image: The retiring Stuart Hogg is one of four Scotland players who could represent the country at a third World Cup

"It was really difficult," Townsend said of his selection. "Certain positions required a lot of debate, not just yesterday but the last few weeks.

"I was really keen for a 38-man squad and then I suppose Jonny [Gray] picking up his injury last week, and a couple of other things, it got to 40 and then it got finalised on 41.

"It just shows the depth we have that we've left out some quality players and we've still got so much quality in the squad."

"It will be difficult [to cut the squad from 41 to 33]. It would have been easier if it was 38 because then you only have five players to drop out the squad.

"My goal is to get that down to 33 quickly, maybe after the second warm-up game. That's what I'm looking at, so we can start working with that 33 in training weeks, get used to them working together, with two games after that.

"If we can get down to 33, that will be really good for our preparations for the World Cup.

"The Six Nations was more of a senior squad, we picked the best squad we could put together and didn't make many changes because we wanted to keep as much cohesion as possible, so it was always going to be difficult for players outside the group to come in when the players were performing so well in games and training.

"There's lots of depth there so if we do pick up injuries, we know we've got quality players just outside the squad."

Scotland's 41-player Rugby World Cup training squad

Forwards (23): Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks) 7 caps, Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps, Dave Cherry (Edinburgh Rugby) 8 caps, Andy Christie (Saracens) 4 caps, Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) 4 caps, Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps, Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps, Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) 9 caps, Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 33 caps, Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 58 caps, Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) 62 caps, Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 73 caps, Cameron Henderson (Leicester Tigers) uncapped, Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) 47 caps, WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) 54 caps, Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby, captain) 41 caps, Pierre, Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) 21 caps, Javan Sebastian (Scarlets) 3 caps, Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby) 25 caps, Rory Sutherland (Ulster Rugby) 23 caps, George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) 35 caps, Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) 57 caps.

Backs (18): Jamie Dobie (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap, Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) 33 caps, Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) 42 caps, Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby) 27 caps, Ben Healy (Munster Rugby) 1 caps, Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) 100 caps, George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 20 caps, Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 36 caps, Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) 43 caps, Stafford McDowall (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped, Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 61 caps, Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) 5 caps, Finn Russell (Racing 92) 69 caps, Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps, Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 10 caps, Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors) 16 caps, Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby) 28 caps, Ben White (London Irish) 14 caps.

Around Sky