Vern Cotter picks four uncapped players in Scotland’s Six Nations squad

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VERN COTTER HAS selected four uncapped players in his 32-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations, but there is no space for flankers Kelly Brown and John Barclay.

All four of the new faces – Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Ben Toolis, Hugh Blake and Hamish Watson – play their club rugby for Edinburgh.

21-year-old scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne recently starred in the Pro12 side’s win over Connacht at the Sportsground, while lock Ben Toolis [22] and back row Hamish Watson [24] have also featured extensively for Edinburgh.

22-year-old back row Blake is a native of New Zealand but qualifies for Scotland through a grandparent.

The former Otago man has yet to play a game for Edinburgh since arriving in Scotland in December, meaning his selection may raise eyebrows, particularly as Saracens’ Brown and Barclay of the Scarlets have been omitted.

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Greig Laidlaw captains the squad, which includes a total of 15 players from Gregor Townsend’s Glasgow Warriors, exciting 21-year-old centre Mark Bennett among them.

Adam Ashe, Chris Fusaro, Grant Gilchrist, Tyrone Holmes, Ruaridh Jackson, Duncan Taylor and Duncan Weir were all unavailable due to injury.

Hidalgo-Clyne was instrumental in Edinburgh’s recent win over Connacht. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cotter’s side open their Six Nations campaign with a trip to play France on 7 February, before welcoming Wales to Murrayfield eight days later.

They are at home to Italy on 28 February, and then play England at Twickenham on 14 February. Scotland’s final fixture sees them host Joe Schmidt’s Ireland on 21 March.

32-man Scotland squad for Six Nations:

Props: Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors) Geoff Cross (London Irish), Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors)

Hookers: Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)

Locks: Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Castres), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby)

Back rows: Hugh Blake (Edinburgh Rugby), Blair Cowan (London Irish), David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby)

Half-backs: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester, captain), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby)

Centres: Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby)

Back threes: Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby).

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