Gregor Townsend is delighted to have the ability to permit Ruaridh McConnochie to fulfil an “ambition” after together with the England cap in his Scotland squad for the upcoming Six Nations.
After Jack Dempsey transformed from Australia to Scotland earlier this season, the Scots have once more taken benefit of world rugby’s new eligibility ruling that permits gamers to modify worldwide allegiance following a three-year cooling off interval between caps, if they’ve a reputable hyperlink with the nation they’re switching to.
McConnochie, the 31-year-old Bath wing, made two appearances for England – together with one on the 2019 World Cup – however after failing to determine himself within the squad, he now has a second likelihood at worldwide degree with the nation of his father’s delivery.
If he performs, he’ll turn into the primary participant to signify each England and Scotland within the fashionable period.
“When the rule changed, we were quickly aware of who that would apply to,” mentioned Townsend, explaining the method behind McConnochie’s shock call-up.
“There were a couple who called us we weren’t aware of but Ruaridh was one we’ve known about his Scottish qualification for a while.
“In October I spent a day in Bath and caught up with Ruaridh and he told me it was his ambition to get into a Scotland squad at some stage.
“He knew how tough that would be given the quality of player in our squad, but it was great that I was able to phone him last night and tell him that he had fulfilled that ambition.
“He played for England at the last World Cup which shows the quality of player he is. He has been unlucky with injuries over the last two or three years but it’s been great that he has played over the last month.
“He has an opportunity now that he’s earned but also an opportunity that’s opened up because of Darcy Graham’s injury.”
Townsend has included three different uncapped gamers in his 40-man squad. Munster stand-off Ben Healy, who will be part of Edinburgh in the summertime, is Scottish certified by means of his mom and can present back-up at quantity 10.
“He brings recent form and experience playing at a high level and we feel he’s got Test match ability,” mentioned Townsend. “His kicking game is strong, he’s confident and he leads the attack well when he gets the opportunity to do that at Munster.
“It’s really the last two weeks prior to the weekend’s game (that helped him get in). It’s timely that his form has come at a time when he is committing to us.
“With Adam Hastings being injured, he now gets a chance to train with us and for us to see him.”
Glasgow centre Stafford McDowall and Leicester second-row Cameron Henderson are the opposite two included who’re but to characteristic for the nationwide group.
Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson are included regardless of being sidelined by damage in current months, however Darcy Graham, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge and Hastings – who’ve additionally been battling health points – haven’t made the squad.
Townsend defined that he has solely picked gamers in his preliminary choice who’ve a practical likelihood of being concerned within the opener away to England on 4 February, though others could possibly be referred to as in at a later date.
“Everyone in our squad is available as we speak for England,” mentioned the top coach. “Rory and Scott were going to be touch and go for England so we felt it was not right to put them in the squad if they’re not in line for that game.
“They may be fit around that game or the Wales game but we don’t think coming straight back into a Test match after being out so long is the right thing by them.
“Zander’s different because he’s not been out as long and he’s been training well over the last couple of weeks.
“Darcy is going to be longer term. The hope is that he would be available for round four or five, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”