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Magners trio after first caps

Guinness PRO12 Editor

21 Oct 2010

A trio of Magners League players will be hoping to win their first Scotland caps during next month’s autumn internationals.

Glasgow Warriors fly-half Ruaridh Jackson, Edinburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw and clubmate Jim Thompson are all in line to make their Test debuts.

Jackson has shown obvious potential since taking the Warriors No10 shirt following the departure of Dan Parks to Cardiff Blues, while Laidlaw has featured in four of Edinburgh’s Magners League fixtures so far this season.

Thompson, who is the grandson of legendary commentator Bill McLaren, has previously starred for Scotland Sevens and Scotland A and was a key part of the 2009 Churchill Cup winning team.

Head coach Andy Robinson has selected a 34-man squad that includes British & Irish Lions Mike Blair, Ross Ford, Nathan Hines and Euan Murray as the Scots prepare to face New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa next month.

The squad consists of 12 players from Edinburgh, eight from Glasgow Warriors and eight from clubs outside of Scotland.
Scotland face the All Blacks on Saturday, November 13 at Muarryfield and the Springboks at the same venue on November 20, before taking on Samoa at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen a week later.

“We have chosen this squad solely to prepare and play against New Zealand with everybody having an opportunity to be selected in the match 22. There is a very good balance to the squad," said Robinson, who took over from Frank Hadden in the summer of 2009.

“We set great store on improvement and Ruaridh (Jackson) has been working hard on his game. Joe (Ansbro) has given some assured performances for Northampton when his team have been under pressure and he can play centre and wing which gives us options.

“As an international rugby player you cannot fail to be excited by the prospect of testing yourself in front of your own fervent support against the world’s best.

“We are unbeaten in our last four games and the players are determined to build on that and produce a performance to inspire the country, so the bigger crowd we have at Murrayfield and Pittodrie the better.”

Scotland secured an historic win over Australia this time last year and shocked Ireland in the last international at Croke Park during the 2010 Six Nations.

They followed up that triumph with an impressive series victory in Argentina and currently lie seventh in the IRB World Rankings – their highest position since the official rankings were introduced.

While confidence within the camp is perhaps at an all-time high, Robinson is missing a number of high-profile players.

Glasgow back row Johnnie Beattie, 2005 Lion Chris Cusiter, Ulster wing Simon Danielli, Edinburgh centre Nick De Luca and fly-half Phil Godman are all unavailable through injury, as is veteran lock Alastair Kellock, the man who led Scotland to victory in Argentina.

Scotland squad

Backs – Joe Ansbro (Northampton Saints), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Ben Cairns (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Grove (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), James Thompson (Edinburgh), Nikki Walker (Ospreys)

Forwards – John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Scott MacLeod (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester) and Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors)