Scotland call up six uncapped players for summer tour, some big names rested

Scotland last faced USA at the World Cup in 2015, winning 39-16
Scotland last faced USA at the World Cup in 2015, winning 39-16

Stuart McInally will captain Scotland for the June Tests with Canada, United States and Argentina, with six uncapped players in Gregor Townsend's squad.

Lewis Carmichael, Jamie Ritchie, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Adam Hastings and James Lang are the potential debutants on tour.

Six Nations skipper John Barclay is among those rested, along with Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Jonny Gray.

Huw Jones, Hamish Watson and WP Nel miss out with injuries.

Glasgow centre Jones needs wrist surgery, while Edinburgh flanker Watson is recovering from a shoulder problem and Edinburgh prop Nel has a knee issue.

In the absence of Edinburgh-bound flanker Barclay and Clermont scrum-half Laidlaw, McInally leads the team for the first time. The Edinburgh hooker has scored three tries in 17 international appearances.

Glasgow number eight Ryan Wilson is another experienced player afforded a longer summer holiday, while Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Ross Ford, Cornell Du Preez, Rob Harley and Josh Strauss also sit out.

Half-backs Horne and Hastings will be aiming to impress, along with back-row Matt Fagerson as Glasgow provide three of the uncapped players.

Glasgow Warriors' stand-off Adam Hastings
Glasgow Warriors' stand-off Adam Hastings is the son of former Scotland great Gavin

Harlequins' Lang adds competition at fly-half, while Edinburgh pair Carmichael and Ritchie join the forwards.

The Scots, ranked fifth in the world, will meet Canada in Edmonton on 9 June before a Houston showdown with USA on the 16th, finishing against the Pumas in Resistencia on the 23rd.

"There are twin goals for this tour - the first is to build on the work we've done so far this season and finish with improved performances," said Townsend.

"We also have the Rugby World Cup in our thoughts, as this will be our last tour before we leave for Japan next year.

"Touring and staying together for four weeks and experiencing different environments will be very informative - seeing how players get on with each other, how much they improve and how they rise to each challenge we face on tour."

It will be Scotland's third North American trip, having previously played both Canada and the USA on tours in 2002 and 2014.

Canada have caused problems before, winning 26-23 in Vancouver in 2002 and pushing Scotland all the way in a 19-17 defeat four years ago.

The most recent meeting with the US was a 39-16 victory at the 2015 World Cup.

Scotland are looking for a fourth consecutive win against Argentina, who are currently ranked ninth in the global standings.

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell
Finn Russell has been rested for the summer tour as Scotland assess back-ups at fly-half

Analysis

BBC Scotland's Tom English

This is a tour of discovery and by that we don't mean an exploration of the cities - Edmonton, Houston and Resistencia - that will host Scotland in the summer. We mean that Gregor Townsend, now more than ever, is on the lookout for a back-up to Finn Russell at 10.

Finn Russell, for once, is not on the tour, along with a number of other senior players. Sensibly, a number of players have been rested. The fly-half has been at the heart of every major Scotland performance in the last three years.

As it stands, he has no understudy remotely in his class. This tour gives an opportunity to Adam Hastings and James Lang to push themselves forward. Scotland's need is great in this department. If injury ever befell Russell they'd be in full crisis mode. It's not a good landscape.

Hastings and Lang are callow. Lang started just five games for Harlequins this summer and only of them at 10. The search for a second 10 towers above all other issues on this tour.

Scotland squad

Forwards (18):

Props: Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh Rugby); Hookers: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby, capt), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors). Locks: Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh Rugby), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby). Back-rows: Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby), David Denton (Worcester Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Luke Hamilton (Leicester Tigers), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby).

Backs (15):

Back three: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks). Centres: Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens). Fly-halves: Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), James Lang (Harlequins). Scrum-halves: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors).

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