Scotland has called up its full complement of 2021 British & Irish Lions as Head Coach Gregor Townsend confirms his 42-man squad for the Autumn Nations Series.
The extended group welcomes back Captain Stuart Hogg, half-back pairing Ali Price and Finn Russell, centre Chris Harris, winger Duhan van de Merwe, flanker Hamish Watson as well as props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland following their involvement in the South African series.
Support for Scotland continues to build ahead of the Autumn Nations Series with the confirmation today that the match against Australia on Sunday 7 November is sold out.
A total of 11 new players are added to the squad ahead of the opening game against Tonga on 30 October from the training group which came together earlier this week at the Oriam High Performance Centre.
Alongside the B&I Lions contingent centres Matt Scott, Huw Jones and fly-half Adam Hastings retain their places alongside flanker Sam Skinner from Scotland’s summer tour squad, which was hampered by Covid cancellations.
Also progressing to the Autumn Series squad are Edinburgh backs Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland and Mark Bennett. They are joined by fellow capital teammates Grant Gilchrist, Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.
Scotland’s west-based professional side Glasgow Warriors provide experience also in the form of hookers Fraser Brown and George Turner, lock Rob Harley and back-row Matt Fagerson. Props Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum and Oli Kebble are also selected.
Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson joins scrum-half George Horne and wing Kyle Steyn who all also missed out on possible game time in the summer series and will compete again for places this autumn.
Head Coach Townsend has selected 12 uncapped players to be part of the tournament squad following their initial involvement in the training group this week.
In the pack Ewan Ashman, Josh Bayliss, Rory Darge, Dylan Richardson, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes and Pierre Schoeman will all be keen to feature in the four-match series, which begins against Tonga and sees Scotland play Australia, South Africa and Japan on consecutive weekends.
Glasgow Warriors provide all the uncapped backs in Rufus McLean, Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson and Sione Tuipulotu.
It’s exciting to bring together a blend of highly experienced and uncapped players for our first week of the Autumn Nations Series campaign.Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend
“There have been some notable performances from both our home-based players and those at clubs outside of Scotland, which has enabled us as coaches to select a group which are playing well and will be motivated across the four games.
“We also feel that this the right time to bring in some younger players given their early season form. They have created opportunities for themselves to represent their country and we believe that they will thrive in the Test match environment.
“We face four tough matches in four weeks and Tonga, Australia, South Africa and Japan each present a different challenge and an opportunity to perform in front of our people at BT Murrayfield. It’s great to hear that we will now play Australia in front of a capacity crowd at BT Murrayfield, and it means a huge amount to the players to have this level of support.”
Autumn Nations Series Squad
Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – uncapped
Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – uncapped
Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Fraser Brown – Glasgow Warriors – 54 caps
Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps
Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
Murray McCallum – Glasgow Warriors – 3 caps
Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks – uncapped
Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 12 caps
Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps
Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – uncapped
George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps
Mark Bennett – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
Jamie Dobie – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 28 caps
Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 23 caps
Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – 85 caps
George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps
Damien Hoyland – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
Huw Jones – Harlequins – 31 caps
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
Duhan van de Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 10 caps
Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
Finn Russell – Racing 92 – 55 caps
Matt Scott – Leicester Tigers – 39 caps
Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – uncapped
Scotland’s matches against South Africa and Australia are already sold out, a full house at BT Murrayfield is also expected for Japan.
Tonga will be the exciting opponents on Saturday 30 October when Scotland take the field for the first test match at BT Murrayfield with a live crowd since March 2020.
Plans are underway to host a massive Halloween party with fans encouraged to wear fancy dress and with ‘kids for £1’ tickets available it gives a great opportunity for families to see their national team in action, secure your tickets HERE.
England announce exciting Autumn Series
England men will play four home matches at Twickenham Stadium as part of the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.
England will first take on the same two teams that they will face in their opening 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D fixtures – beginning their campaign against Argentina [Sunday 6 November], followed by Japan [Saturday 12 November].
Eddie Jones’ side will then play New Zealand on Saturday 19 November for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final, where England beat the three-time world champions 19-7.
Their final game is against world champions South Africa [Saturday 26 November]. Last month, in a tightly contested game England beat the Springboks 27-26 with an 80th-minute penalty.
Jones said: “These fixtures will be a really important part of our preparation for the 2023 World Cup.
“It’s almost a mini World Cup in itself and we’re fortunate to have it less than a year before the tournament.
“It will be a good litmus test for the team to see where we are at, culminating in playing first and second in the world.
“We saw how much of a difference having a full Twickenham Stadium was this autumn and we can’t wait to play a series of games against such quality opposition in front of our supporters.”
Hospitality packages are on sale now via EnglandRugby.com/Hospitality and wider ticket details will be issued early in 2022.
Kick off times will be confirmed in coming weeks.
Full fixtures (all KOs TBC)
England v Argentina Sunday 6 November 2022
England v Japan Saturday 12 November 2022
England v New Zealand Saturday 19 November 2022
England v South Africa Saturday 26 November 2022
Garry Ringrose Signs New Three Year IRFU Contract
Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has signed a three year IRFU contract which will see him continue to play with Leinster until the end of the 2024/25 season.
Garry started all three of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures having missed the summer Tests through injury. Garry made his Ireland debut against Canada in the 2016 Guinness November Series and has since represented his country on 37 occasions scoring 10 tries.
A grand slam winner in 2018 Garry also starred on the summer tour of Australia and started four or Ireland’s Rugby World Cup fixtures in Japan in 2019.
The former Ireland U20 has made 90 senior appearances for Leinster scoring 28 tries and has won a European Champions Cup (2018) and four PRO rugby titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) with his province.
IRFU High Performance Director, David Nucifora commented,
“Garry has had a tough road with injuries since the World Cup in Japan but he is a top international player who delivers big performances for Ireland and Leinster. He will be an influential figure at both national and provincial level over the coming years.”
Garry Ringrose commented, “Delighted to sign for another three years. It is an exciting time to be involved with Leinster and Ireland. Both squads have ambition to be competing for silverware every year and I’m motivated to do whatever I can to contribute”
World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions
- New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
- Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
- Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
- Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022
The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.
From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:
- The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
- The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
- Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity
After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.
The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.
Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.
The benefits of the amendment include:
- Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
- Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
- Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.
“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”
World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”
International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.”