Cotter names young Scotland squad for Six Nations

Scotland coach Vern Cotter has named four new uncapped players from Edinburgh in a young looking 32 man squad for this year’s Six Nations. 
Edinburgh scrumhalf Hidalgo-Clyne, Hugh Blake (back row) and Ben Toolis (lock) who are both 22 and loose forward Hamish Watson (24) are the uncapped players in the squad. 
In the absence of Grant Gilchrist playmaker Greig Laidlaw has been given the captaincy. Gilchrist is one of several players missing the squad due to injury including fly-half Duncan Weir.
Blake’s selection comes as a surprise as he has yet to play for Edinburgh since he joined from Super Rugby side the Highlanders in December from Cotter’s country of birth New Zealand. 
This year will be Cotter’s first Six Nations championship and he has taken the bold move of leaving out the back-row trio of Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Johnnie Beattie.
Scotland produced several encouraging performances during the November internationals, beating Argentina and Tonga before only losing narrowly to New Zealand, albeit the world champions were not at full strength.
Of the new caps, Cotter said: “They have impressed me with their desire to go forward, and reflect the Scottish spirit of attacking and leading, to develop into impressive performers.
“I’m very confident that the players selected will underline the improvements we showed in the autumn (November) as well as some others as the group continues to come together.
He added: “Obviously we’ll be facing some very good sides, four of which are above us in the world rankings, however we have nothing to hide going into this year. “
Scotland open the Six Nations away to France on February 7 and Cotter said: “We start with a very difficult game against France in Paris and we will prepare as best as possible for that game and adapt as the competition evolves.
“The players will want to characterise the traditional traits of the Scottish game; attacking with ferocity, destabilising the opposition and trying to play smart. “

Backs (15)
Mark Bennett (Glasgow), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Dougie Fife (Edinburgh), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow), Peter Horne (Glasgow) Greig Laidlaw Gloucester/ENG, capt), Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Sean Maitland (Glasgow), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Finn Russell (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh, Tim Visser (Edinburgh)
Forwards (17)
Hugh Blake (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow), Blair Cowan (London Irish/ENG), Geoff Cross (London Irish/ENG), David Denton (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Castres/FRA), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Jim Hamilton (Saracens/ENG), Rob Harley (Glasgow), Euan Murray (Glasgow), Gordon Reid (Glasgow), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan/FRA), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Jon Welsh (Glasgow)

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