Two uncapped players in Scotland Six Nations squad

Zander Fagerson of Scotland looks on during the World Rugby U20 Championship

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a 35-man squad for the 2016 Six Nations and included uncapped props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland.

Glasgow Warriors’ tighthead Fagerson turns later this week so if selected he could become the fourth youngest prop in Scottish history, and the youngest to represent Scotland for more than half a century (since Bill Black debuted against France at Murrayfield 1948).

Fellow propping prospect Sutherland (23) plies his trade at the opposite end of the M8 and earns selection through his increasingly impressive showings for Edinburgh Rugby since signing from Gala last season.

The young pair are among four changes to Scotland’s front-row options originally named for Rugby World Cup 2015, with 29-times capped Exeter Chiefs tighthead, Moray Low, and six-times capped Glasgow Warriors hooker, Pat MacArthur, earning selection for the first time since the summer of 2014.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “We’ve selected a mixture of experience with some exciting young players coming through, some of whom have experienced the Rugby World Cup and are eager to move forward, take the Six Nations head on and show that we can develop our game and be competitive.

“I think there should be confidence. The guys have worked hard and improved. There are positive signs that we can compete, and this Championship will give us another opportunity to measure ourselves against very good opposition in a tough competition.

“The guys believe that we can compete, dominate and secure victories in these games.”

Some 23 players capped during Rugby World Cup 2015 have earned reselection – six missing out, at this juncture, through injury (Fraser Brown, Grant Gilchrist, Henry Pyrgos, Jon Welsh, Richie Vernon) and retirement (Alasdair Strokosch) – while Cotter has rewarded the form of back-row forwards John Barclay (Scarlets), Adam Ashe and Chris Fusaro (both Glasgow Warriors), and versatile Wasps back Ruaridh Jackson, with selection.

Other notable inclusions see centres Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) and Duncan Taylor (Saracens) recover from the injuries that ruled them out of last year’s international opportunities, despite winning Guinness PRO12 and English Premiership titles respectively.

Scotland will once again be captained by Gloucester scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, who requires the same number of appearances (four) to mark a half-century caps and to equal David Sole’s record as most-times as Scotland captain (25).

Lock Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) have been invited to train with the squad when it convenes for a pre-Championship camp in St Andrews this Sunday, before returning to their clubs to continue their recovery from groin and wrist injuries respectively.

Scotland’s Six Nations campaign gets underway with the sold-out fixture against England at Murrayfield on Saturday 6 February.

Scotland squad for Six Nations

Forwards:

Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors), John Barclay (Scarlets), Blair Cowan (London Irish), David Denton (Bath), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), John Hardie (Edinburgh), Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh).

Backs:

Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (London Irish), Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Taylor (Saracens) Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Tim Visser (Harlequins).

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