New faces in Scotland squad for New Zealand Test
Lee Jones (R) and new cap Stuart McInally. Photo: Getty Images
EDINBURGH: Scotland coach Andy Robinson on Wednesday called up seven uncapped players in naming his Scotland squad to take on world champions New Zealand in Ednburgh on November 11.
The 34-man squad includes new boys Edinburgh pair Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist as well as Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour and Henry Pyrgos, all from Glasgow Warriors.
McInally and centre Dunbar were late call-ups to Scotland's summer tour to Australia, Fiji and Samoa, but did not play.
Back row standout David Denton and wing Lee Jones return after missing the tour through injury, while lock Jim Hamilton returns after a suspension that ruled him out of the June trip.
Scrum-half Chris Cusiter was among 13 not considered for selection due to injury, with Mike Blair (Brive) and Rory Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) selected despite not playing top-division rugby. Pyrgos is also an option at number nine.
The question of who captains the side was left open. Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford was skipper during the Six Nations and in the summer, but that position could be under threat with Saracens back-row Kelly Brown fit again.
Scotland are out to rebound after a poor 2011-12 season when they were eliminated from the Rugby World Cup at the group stages and defeated in all five Six Nations matches to finish with the wooden spoon.
Robinson's position was under scrutiny but Scotland responded with victories in Australia, Fiji and Samoa in June to end a seven-match winless run, their worst since 1998.
The squad will be reviewed after the All Blacks clash and ahead of the November 17 Test with South Africa and the clash with Tonga in Aberdeen a week later.
Robinson said: "It's always an exciting time when the Scotland squad comes together ahead of the first Test match of the season.
"It's some four months since Scotland last played an international so when the squad reconvenes there'll be an element of renewing acquaintances and reigniting the spark and spirit that was such a key part of our success on our summer tour.
"New Zealand are formidable opponents. They do the basics exceptionally well and play with a pace and ruthlessness. It's no coincidence that they are the best team in the world.
"We must look to build on the physical commitment of our players against Australia, Fiji and Samoa."
Scotland squad for November 11 Test match against New Zealand:
Backs: Mike Blair (Brive), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres), Stuart Hogg, Peter Horne and Ruaridh Jackson (all Glasgow Warriors), Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw (both Edinburgh Rugby), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Peter Murchie, Henry Pyrgos (both Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) and Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby)
Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton, Ross Ford and Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (London Irish), Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) and Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby).