Five new caps in Scotland training squad

Kieran Low looks on during the Saracens training session

Scotland coach Scott Johnson has included five new uncapped players in his 41-man training squad to prepare for next month’s Tests at home to Japan, South Africa and Australia.

Glasgow trio Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray and Chris Fusaro have been called up for the first time, with London Irish back-row pair Kieran Low and Blair Cowan the other two uncapped players in the squad.

Low has previously represented England Under-20s but qualifies for Scotland thanks to his Scottish-born grandfather.

“Committing to Scotland was an easy decision to make. I want to grab the chance to play international rugby,” said the  22-year-old flanker.

New Zealand-born Cowan qualifies for Scotland through his Dunoon-born mother.

Cowan said: “The Scottish side has always been a strong part of my family, my career really kicked off in Great Britain and Scotland’s always been the country, in my mind, that I wanted to represent.”

Johnson, himself an Australian, added: “Low is a good, young player who is athletic and big enough to play at lock or blindside and we don’t have many players who can do that.

“One of the lessons from the South African tour, and especially given the attritional nature of the position, is that we must increase our back-row depth and compare the skills set of the players there.

“We know Ross Rennie is coming back to fitness and Chris Fusaro is an out-and-out seven. Cowan is a good, tough, energetic player who can play in every back-row position.”

Second-row forward Gray, 19, joins older brother Richie Gray in the squad.

But the international future of Scotland Under-20 international Tommy Allan remains uncertain.

A fly-half with French club Perpignan, Allan — who has a Scottish father and an Italian mother — was recently included in Italy’s training squad for their November international programme.

Johnson said he was still to hear back from the nephew of former Scotland international John Allan after leaving a ‘phone message with the player on Monday.

Fixtures (all at Murrayfield):

Nov 09: Scotland v Japan (1430GMT)
Nov 17: Scotland v South Africa (1500GMT)
Nov 23: Scotland v Australia (1800GMT)

Squad

Backs:

Mark Bennett (Glasgow), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow), Nick de Luca (Edinburgh), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Max Evans (Castres/FRA), Tom Heathcote (Bath/ENG), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow), Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Duncan Taylor (Saracens/ENG), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Duncan Weir (Glasgow)

Forwards:

John Barclay (Scarlets/WAL), John Beattie (Montpellier/FRA), Kelly Brown (Saracens/ENG), Blair Cowan (London Irish/ENG), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), David Denton (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Edinburgh) Chris Fusaro (Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Castres/FRA), Jim Hamilton (Montpellier/FRA), Rob Harley (Glasgow) Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Scott Lawson (Newcastle/ENG), Kieran Low (London Irish/ENG), Moray Low (Glasgow), Pat MacArthur (Glasgow), Euan Murray (Worcester/ENG), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan/FRA), Tim Swinson (Glasgow), Jon Welsh (Glasgow)

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