Vern Cotter will field an inexperienced Scotland side in this weekend’s World Cup warmup match with Ireland in Dublin. New Zealand-born flanker Hugh Blake will make his first start while scrum-half Henry Pyrgos captains the squad.
Making a return to international action is Wasps’ Ruaridh Jackson, who will start in an unfamiliar full back role. Edinburgh’s Greig Tonks takes the fly-half berth while his club captain Grant Gilchrist will complete his comeback from a broken arm in the second row.
The Scots have just four games before the final squad selection is made on 31 August. Cotter’s choices will be made easier by those players who perform, and he believes his coaching team have given the side the best chance to do so.
He said: “It’s been important to get a good look at everyone over the last two months.
“The strength and conditioning team have worked hard to get more power and endurance from our players, while we’ve also focused a lot on basic skill sets.
“The successful application of these elements will enable us to perform the various forms of rugby that we would like to play; dominating collisions and using these skill sets to become better at making and executing decisions.
“These 23 players now have the first chance to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, against what we know is quality opposition.”
Scotland play their first World Cup match against Japan on 15 September at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium. Between now and then, they face a home and away encounter with Italy before traveling to Paris to face France, by which time the final 31 will have been chosen.
Aviva Stadium, Dublin (15 August, kick-off 5pm) – live on Sky Sports.
Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps), Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Peter Horne (all Glasgow Warriors), Tim Visser (Harlequins), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby), Henry Pyrgos (c) (Glasgow Warriors)
Ryan Grant, Fraser Brown, Jon Welsh (all Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Hugh Blake (Glasgow Warriors), David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby).
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Gordon Reid, Mike Cusack, Robert Harley (all Glasgow Warriors), John Barclay (Scarlets), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby).