Richie Gray & Duncan Weir missing from Scotland World Cup training squad

Richie Gray in action for Scotland
Richie Gray has 62 caps for Scotland

Richie Gray can still force his way into Scotland's World Cup plans despite missing out on the training squad, says head coach Gregor Townsend.

Townsend named a group of 42 for the summer with two spots yet to be filled.

Another notable absentee along with Gray, who has only made one Test appearance in two years due to injury, is Worcester fly-half Duncan Weir.

"We're announcing the squad with some big games still to play, players due to play in huge games," Townsend said.

"We want to make that decision having seen these players perform at that level.

"Toulouse [Gray's club] are going really well in France, they could play four more games, and Richie has that opportunity like the other guys in his position to make sure he's the one we select at the end of the season.

"Experience does count for a lot, form counts for a lot, too. Playing at a level that we know he and other players can perform at - at Test level - is important. And that's what we are looking for from all these players who are still playing in the remaining games."

Gray, capped 62 times for Scotland, does not make the squad despite the 29-year-old having recovered from a lengthy back injury to feature for European semi-finalists and French league leaders Toulouse.

The 27-year-old Weir has played 27 times for his country but is also not included along with centre Alex Dunbar, the 30-cap 29-year-old having been on loan to Newcastle Falcons from Glasgow Warriors.

Pro14 title-chasing Glasgow contribute 17 players to the training squad, while Edinburgh have 13.

Weir, whose excellent performances were instrumental in Worcester securing their Premiership status, also still has a chance of making the squad for Japan according to Townsend.

"He has not fallen out of the picture entirely," he said.

"He's obviously not in our squad but partly that is due to the lower number of players we have selected.

"Duncan was very close to the selection. If it had been a bigger squad he'd have been in there. Duncan is playing the best rugby probably of his career. It shows that when you get to play regularly you can improve and play with confidence."

English-born centre Rory Hutchinson earns a first call-up after an impressive season with Northampton Saints, while Glasgow Warriors hooker Grant Stewart and Scarlets forward Blade Thomson, both also uncapped, are recalled.

Edinburgh back-row John Barclay is included as he eyes a third finals.

There will be three pre-season residential camps in Scotland and a hot weather camp in Portugal before four home-and-away summer Test matches against Georgia and France in August and early September.

Scotland training squad

Forwards

John Barclay (Edinburgh), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (Edinburgh), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (London Irish), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors), Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).

Backs

Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (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), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens).

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