Scotland: Blade Thomson, Sam Skinner and Sam Johnson in Autumn Tests squad

Sam Skinner in action for Exeter Chiefs
Sam Skinner was involved with Scottish Exiles before joining Exeter Chiefs

Uncapped Blade Thomson, Sam Skinner and Sam Johnson have been named in Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend's 40-man squad for the 2018 autumn Tests.

Scotland face Wales in Cardiff on 3 November then host Tests against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.

Exeter Chiefs lock Skinner represented England at Under-20 level but qualifies through his father.

Australia-born Johnson qualifies on residency and New Zealand-born Thomson is eligible through a grandfather.

"They're excellent players, that's first and foremost the reason we've brought them in. They will really add to our group," said Townsend.

Among those missing through injury are British and Irish Lions full-back Stuart Hogg, Glasgow Warriors team-mate Zander Fagerson and fellow forwards John Barclay, of Edinburgh, and Richie Gray, now of Toulouse.

Glasgow Warriors centre Johnson will be available for all four games, but Skinner and 27-year-old Thomson - who joined Scarlets this summer from Wellington franchise Hurricanes - are among nine players in the squad based outside Scotland who will not be available against Wales, as that match falls outside the international window.

Alex Dunbar, Jonny Gray, Huw Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Maitland, Willem Nel, Gordon Reid, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour, Ryan Wilson and Hamish Watson all return, as do Matt Scott, who last played in June 2017, and Edinburgh team-mate Henry Pyrgos, who last featured in November.

Townsend has also invited Edinburgh duo Luke Crosbie, a back-row, and Darcy Graham, a wing, to train with the squad.

Townsend on...

Blade Thomson, the Scarlets back row:

He is probably the most established out the three, given he's a bit older and he's played Super Rugby for the last two or three seasons. We've known about him for a few years, his Scottish qualification. I was always interested in potentially signing him for Glasgow, but he'd missed a lot of rugby over a two-year period with shoulder injuries. It's been great to see that he's been fully fit the last 12 months playing at number eight for the Hurricanes and now playing very well for the Scarlets, both at number eight and blindside flanker.

Sam Johnson, who has made 40 appearances for Glasgow:

I signed him at Glasgow three, three-and-a-half years ago and each season he's got better and better. Our last year, he played regularly in Champions Cup. He won the players' player of the season last year, so that shows you how well he's performed.

Sam Skinner, who has impressed for Exeter Chiefs:

"It's a big bonus to have him because he's has a big future ahead of him. He's an excellent player. He's lineout leader for one of the best packs in Europe. His decision-making in attack and defence is excellent and he's got really good running lines.

A tweet by BBC Scotland's Tom English
A tweet by BBC Scotland's Tom English

Scotland squad

Forwards: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh), David Denton (Leicester Tigers), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Murray McCallum (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (London Irish), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)

Backs: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Fife (Edinburgh), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)

My Scotland XV

Who should Scotland pick to face South Africa in their third autumn Test? Pick your team then share it with friends.

Top Stories