Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named ten uncapped players in his 37-strong squad to tour the Americas next month with his selections raising major talking points.

Some key players such as Finn Russell have been given the summer off while others -most notably British and Irish Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe - has been included in the four match tour. 

READ MORE: Ten uncapped players named in Scotland squad for summer tour

Other well established internationalists the wrong side of 30 have not been picked which suggests their Scotland careers could be at an end.

Has Townsend got the mix between youth and experience correct for the games against Canada, USA, Chile and Uruguay? 

How excited should we be about the new players that will take their bow on the international stage for Scotland in what looks very much like a development tour?

Rob Robertson takes a deep dive into the squad selection. Here are his 10 talking points.

No Finn Russell, no surprise

Russell has nothing to prove and everything to lose if he had taken part in the tour.

The only losers from not having him in the Scotland squad are the players of Canada, USA, Chile and Uruguay who will miss out on being on the same pitch as one of the greatest players of his generation.

Russell has to look at the bigger picture and that doesn’t include taking on four Tier-Two rugby nations away from home.

He is facing a tough enough season ahead with Bath and Scotland and it will be extended by his expected selection for the British and Irish Lions. Russell is 31 years old and this tour should help sort out the pecking order of those below him with Ben Healy, Adam Hastings and Ross Thompson the touring tens.

Finn Russell has been given the summer off by ScotlandFinn Russell has been given the summer off by Scotland (Image: PA)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend was keen to get Saracens fly-half Fergus Burke, who is eligible to play for Scotland or England, on the tour but the New Zealand-born 10 is keeping his options open.

Duhan van der Merwe should have been rested

He is another who will have a long season and is sure to be picked by the British and Irish Lions and should have been give the summer off.

He will no doubt beat Stuart Hogg’s try-scoring record on tour - he is just one away from equalling the total of 27 - and it will be sad to see such a historic moment happening in one of the four away fixtures that Scotland will win easily rather than in a high profile match.

Van der Merwe has been lucky with relatively few injuries but there is no need to tempt fate by taking him on a meaningless four-match tour.

Duhan van der Merwe is one off Stuart Hogg's Scotland try record. He will surely break that on the summer tour having been included in the squadDuhan van der Merwe is one off Stuart Hogg's Scotland try record. He will surely break that on the summer tour having been included in the squad (Image: SNS)

There are enough other wingers around that would have allowed him a break. Glasgow Warriors captain Kyle Steyn and his team-mate Kyle Rowe are perfectly capable of playing in all four games.

Sale Sharks winger Arron Reed may be uncapped but he was in this year’s Six Nations squad and can also do a job out wide. It is a shame that Darcy Graham hasn’t made it.

Harry Paterson gets his chance with no Blair Kinghorn

Toulouse full-back Kinghorn has emerged as one of the best full-backs in the world game and won the European Champions Cup with the French club.

And to think Edinburgh and Scotland once tried to turn him into a fly-half.

READ MORE: Blair Kinghorn admits he became 'stagnant' at Edinburgh

Harry Paterson was outstanding on his Scotland debut against FranceHarry Paterson was outstanding on his Scotland debut against France (Image: SNS)

Paterson got his big chance in the Six Nations against France after Kyle Steyn’s wife went into labour on match day. Injury meant he could not build on his great start but this is his chance to shine. Huw Jones can fill in at full-back at a push as can Kyle Rowe.

A long time waiting but Gus Warr deserves his chance

Scotland has an abundance of talent at scrum-half but Warr deserves to be included in the squad. He has been superb for Sale Sharks for the past two seasons and a new face in the Scotland set-up is always good to see.

He tours with George Horne, who goes as first choice nine, and Jamie Dobie.

Watch out for Ben Afshar who joins the tour for the final two matches as a development player. He has huge potential so don’t be surprised to see him make his debut against Chile or Uruguay.

Grant Gilchrist and Richie Gray can’t go on forever

The pair have seen second row partners such as Tim Swinson and Ben Toolis come and go but they were always good together but now their time may be up. Gilchrist is 33 and Gray a year older.

Their experience has been invaluable in recent years but the strength in depth Scotland has at lock is as deep as a puddle so new players need to be given a chance.

It is good to see Max Williamson of Glasgow Warriors involved and at 22 years old he is one for the future.

Max Williamson is one for the futureMax Williamson is one for the future (Image: SNS)

Former Scotland under-20 player Ewan Johnson, whose dad Paul is from Bathgate, plays his rugby in France with Oyonnax so this will be his big chance to show what he can do.

Scott Cummings will be the main line-out jumper and either Alex Craig of Scarlets or Glen Young of Edinburgh could start alongside him.

George Turner will be a big miss but there are other hookers out there

The Glasgow Warriors hooker confirming he was signing for Kobe Steelers in Japan the day before the Scotland squad was announced was no coincidence.

It made it easier for Gregor Townsend to leave him out of the summer tour despite him being far and away the best hooker available to Scotland.

Turner, 31, is unlikely to be available long-term -or more accurately he is not likely to be picked- by Scotland during his time in Japan and he will be a big loss.


Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally have both retired, Dave Cherry looks unlikely to play for his country again which leaves the cupboard very much bare apart from Ewan Ashman who will be touring and Johnny Matthews who won’t.

The interesting pick is Dylan Richardson who won his single cap against Japan three years ago in the back row. He is part of this squad as a hooker where he has played for the Sharks.

Dylan Richardson won his only cap to date in the back-row in 2021, but has since moved to hookerDylan Richardson won his only cap to date in the back-row in 2021, but has since moved to hooker (Image: SNS)

There is also Northampton Saints hooker Robbie Smith, 25 and Patrick Harrison of Edinburgh, both of whom will want to make a big impression.

The centres are the strongest part of the touring squad

Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu may not have been at their best for Scotland in the last World Cup or even in the Six Nations but will have a field day on this tour against the second tier nations.

Huw Jones is among the first choice players who will make the tripHuw Jones is among the first choice players who will make the trip (Image: SNS)

Stafford McDowall is a strong back-up centre and you also have the uncapped Matt Currie in there. That Edinburgh's James Lang or Mark Bennett didn’t make the cut  shows the strength in depth in that area.

Interestingly Sione’s brother Mosese hasn’t been picked which is a good thing. It is not a good look parachuting players from abroad - he signed for Edinburgh from the Waratahs for next season - straight into the Scotland squad without playing a game.

Still no Magnus Bradbury in a 37-man squad that doesn’t include Hamish Watson or Jack Dempsey

It is baffling that Bradbury hasn’t been more involved with Scotland. Granted Jack Dempsey, who isn’t touring, has been a revelation since he switched allegiances from Australia and Rory Darge, who is, has emerged as a Scotland captain.

Magnus Bradbury isn't included despite a terrific season for Bristol BearsMagnus Bradbury isn't included despite a terrific season for Bristol Bears (Image: PA)

Even so Bradbury had been in terrific form with Bristol Bears during his time down south and it may have been a case of out of sight, out of mind back then but now that he is back north after signing for Edinburgh for next season he still can’t get a place in the Scotland squad.

Phew, no Zander Fagerson

If I had my way the Glasgow Warriors tighthead would be put in storage and only wheeled out for important Warriors games and Scotland’s matches in the Six Nations. Sorry Glasgow fans but Fagerson - on a par with Finn Russell- is the most important Scotland player around.

The retirement of WP Nel has brought his importance to the cause into sharp focus. There is nobody - not a single Scotland player - who is in his class.

Zander Fagerson will get a chance to rest this summerZander Fagerson will get a chance to rest this summer (Image: SNS)

Like Russell he has nothing to prove and with a Lions tour to look forward to at the end of next season he deserves the summer off. Elliot Millar Mills of Northampton Saints is in line to start on tour but will be pushed hard by Edinburgh’s Javan Sebastian.

Watch out for the uncapped Leicester Tigers tighthead Will Hurd. He had to pull out of the Six Nations due to injury so this could be his big chance to stake a claim for the number three jersey.

This could be the tour that Jamie Ritchie gets back to his best

The back row forward was Scotland captain in the 2023 World Cup but lost the role for the Six Nations where he started just two out of the five games.

Although Edinburgh had a dreadful end of the season he was one of the few players who performed well and was named the club’s player of the season.

READ MORE: Jamie Ritchie reflects on 'challenging' year after award win

Jamie Ritchie responded superbly to a difficult 12 monthsJamie Ritchie responded superbly to a difficult 12 months (Image: PA)

He will want to be involved as much as possible on this tour to boost his confidence that took a knock during the Six Nations.