Uncapped Pair Make Scotland Squad As Gray Returns
Coach Frank Hadden has named two uncapped players in the Scotland training squad for next month’s Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests. In addition to Max Evans, the Glasgow Warriors back, and his fellow 25-year-old, Geoff Cross, the Edinburgh prop, the other main talking point in the 31-strong squad, chosen to prepare for the visit of New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, is the return to the international spotlight of flanker Scott Gray.Coach Frank Hadden has named two uncapped players in the Scotland training squad for next month’s Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests. In addition to Max Evans, the Glasgow Warriors back, and his fellow 25-year-old, Geoff Cross, the Edinburgh prop, the other main talking point in the 31-strong squad, chosen to prepare for the visit of New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, is the return to the international spotlight of flanker Scott Gray. Gray, 30, who won his solitary cap to date against Australia in the first Autumn Test four years ago, has caught the attention of Hadden and his fellow coaches. Hadden said: We know the huge importance of our November matches given the draw for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and at this stage I’m pleased at the competition we have for places. Twenty three of the squad were with us in Argentina during the summer, including Max Evans and Geoff Cross, and we’ve been impressed especially by the manner in which Max and Geoff have raised their game this season. We’ve also been watching Scott Gray closely at Northampton, where he’s put in some great shifts at openside.A year ago, Gray was in the midst of a 10-month contract with Doncaster in English National League Division 1, and his performances against Northampton led to him being snapped up. I’m really enjoying being at the Saints, Gray said. I’ve played at openside and been getting plenty of game time. The squad will convene at a warm-weather training camp in Spain on Monday with Exiles in their club team’s match-day 22 released on the Wednesday evening, as determined by an International Rugby Board ruling last week. All other players will remain at the camp throughout the week. Hadden said: This is the best route to maximise the limited time we have together for the matches against the All Blacks, Springboks and Canada. Our training facilities on the back pitches at Murrayfield are currently being enhanced and are thus out of the equation, so we have identified the warm-weather camp in Spain as the ideal route. Scotland training squad (sponsor Murray) for the Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests BacksMike Blair CAPTAIN, Ben Cairns (both Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Perpignan), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans, Thom Evans (both Glasgow Warriors), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks), Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Paterson, Hugo Southwell, Simon Webster (all Edinburgh) ForwardsJohn Barclay, Kelly Brown (both Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Scott Gray (Northampton Saints), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Edinburgh), Nathan Hines (Perpignan), Allister Hogg, Allan Jacobsen (both Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Matt Mustchin (Edinburgh), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Simon Taylor (Stade Francais), Jason White (Sale Sharks) Not considered due to injury Dave Callam (Edinburgh), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) and Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors) Scott Gray (Northampton Saints) Flanker. Born: 24.2.78 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Height: 6ft 3in (1.91m). Weight: 16st 1lb (100kg). Scott Donald Gray started his first Scotland game at blind-side flanker in the opening match of the 2004 Abbey Autumn Tests against Australia. Previously that year, he had played in two of the midweek games on Scotland’s summer tour of Australia (versus New South Wales Country and New South Wales Waratahs, scoring a try against the former). He played in all three matches for Scotland in the Barclays Churchill Cup in Canada in June 2006, and he continued in that team for the Perth match against Australia A five months later. Originally from Zimbabwe, Scott moved to Australia as an 18-year-old and played in Canberra for a year. He then spent two years in the ACT Brumbies academy before winning a training contract in Brisbane with the aim of playing Super 12 rugby. He switched code to league and had a stint with the Brisbane Broncos before moving to English premiership club Bath. He qualifies for Scotland through his father, Donald John Gray, who was born in Barrhead. He has also played club rugby for Bath and for Border Reivers. International record1 cap. 2004 – A Note to editors: Notwithstanding the IRB ruling, Welsh regions advised Frank Hadden that they would not release players for the training camp. Scottish Rugby is currently seeking clarification from the IRB on this matter.