Gary Graham: Eddie Jones used Newcastle flanker 'as a bit of a guinea pig' - Ally Hogg

Gary Graham and Gregor Townsend at Scotland training
Gary Graham was added to Scotland's autumn Test squad by head coach Gregor Townsend, right
Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Friday, 7 December Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio 5 live, text commentary on BBC Sport website

Gary Graham was "used as a bit of a guinea pig" by England head coach Eddie Jones, says his former Newcastle Falcons team-mate Ally Hogg.

Jones selected Graham, who will face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday, in squads last season but did not cap him.

After English interest cooled, Graham was called up in November by Gregor Townsend, who said the 26-year-old "wanted to commit" to Scotland.

"Eddie Jones was trying make a point a little bit," Hogg told BBC Scotland.

"He used him as a bit of a guinea pig, which wasn't fair on Gary. He'd only played a few games for Newcastle when he was called up."

Graham, 26, is the son of former Newcastle and Scotland prop George Graham but qualified for England through residency.

Scottish Rugby has intensified its search for talent south of the border and former Scotland back-row Hogg, who retired last season, suspects Jones aimed to "ruffle a few feathers" with Graham's inclusion.

"Knowing what Eddie Jones is like, it was probably more of a warning shot to Gregor that he's taken a few English players and he might do vice versa," he added.

Hardie capture 'a big coup' for Falcons'

Hogg revealed John Hardie has impressed Falcons players after joining the club in October, although he is not registered for the trip to former club Edinburgh in Friday's European Champions Cup match.

The Scotland flanker was released in the summer having served a three-month suspension for "gross misconduct" over alleged cocaine use earlier in the season.

"If he didn't have his misdemeanours, he'd probably still be at Edinburgh. It's a big coup for Newcastle. And I imagine he would have gone quite cheaply as well because he didn't really have another club," Hogg added.

"He's come in and put his head down. He's got a point to prove, not only to the team but to himself and to the wider rugby public that he is a good player and still has a lot to offer."

John Hardie of Newcastle Falcons makes a tackle
Hardie, in action here against Harlequins, made 18 tackles and missed none in Newcastle's win over Northampton

'Foreign guys were deemed to be better than what we had'

Hogg, 35, split his 16-year professional career between Edinburgh and Newcastle, retiring after helping the Falcons to the Premiership semi-finals at the end of last term.

He won the last of his 47 caps in 2009 and believes he was overlooked by successive Scotland coaches in part because of a bias towards overseas players.

New Zealand-born Blair Cowan, Hugh Blake and Hardie, Wales-born Kieran Low and South African Tyrone Holmes all played Tests during his international exile.

"I was Andy Robinson's captain for two years at Edinburgh. He got the Scotland job and my face didn't fit his philosophy," Hogg said.

"That was the downfall of Scottish rugby a little bit in the past. Foreign guys were deemed to be better than what we had.

"We've got a lot of talent and to be fair to Gregor, he's been rewarding those guys, and others like Sam Skinner who has played really well for Exeter Chiefs. It's always more frustrating when it happens to you but you do get a bit miffed when you're not getting picked and guys are getting parachuted in."

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