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Johnson opts for fresh faces

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson has named nine uncapped players in a 31-man squad for next month's international tournament in South Africa.

The newcomers are hookers Steven Lawrie and Pat MacArthur, lock Tim Swinson, Glasgow backs Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie and Tommy Seymour, full-back Greig Tonks and wing Duncan Taylor. Johnson will be assisted by coaching staff Jonathan Humphreys, Matt Taylor, Massimo Cuttitta and Duncan Hodge.

Scotland face Italy and Samoa in the tournament along with the hosts.

RaboDirect PRO12 play-off semi-finalists Glasgow supply 14 players, while nine come from Edinburgh.

Johnson, who will take on a role as Scottish Rugby Union director of rugby after the tournament, said: "First up, it's a strong squad designed to win Test matches against quality opposition. We've continued to monitor the players' form closely and we've been pleased that Glasgow have reached the knock-out stages of the Rabo.

"We are taking the opportunity to have a look at some players and want to assess what they're like at this level. We need to be able to find out whether players who've done the business for their clubs can replicate that form in international footy.

"We also want to enable certain players who are known to us - for example Nick De Luca and Max Evans - to have the sort of off-season physical preparation that they've not had for a few years because of the demands of touring schedules."

The Scotland squad will convene for a three-day training camp in Perthshire and the Highlands on May 27 before flying out to South Africa on May 31. They will play on three successive Saturdays, with the first game coming against Samoa on June 8 in Durban before they take on the Springboks in Nelspruit.

Backs: A Dunbar (Glasgow), T Heathcote (Bath), P Horne (Glasgow), R Jackson (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), S Lamont (Glasgow), P Murchie (Glasgow), H Pyrgos (Glasgow), M Scott (Edinburgh), T Seymour (Glasgow), D Taylor (Saracens), G Tonks (Edinburgh), T Visser (Edinburgh).

Forwards: J Barclay (Glasgow), J Beattie (Montpellier), K Brown (Saracens, capt), G Cross (Edinburgh), D Denton (Edinburgh), A Dickinson (Sale), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Gilchrist (Edinburgh), R Grant (Glasgow), J Hamilton (Gloucester), A Kellock (Glasgow), S Lawrie (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow), P MacArthur (Glasgow), E Murray (Worcester), A Strokosch (Perpignan), T Swinson (Glasgow), R Wilson (Glasgow).


From Belfast Telegraph