Scotland’s summer tour: the players to watch out for

Rich Dore
05 June 2018

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As we spring into summer the upcoming June tours look to be crucial ones as head coaches shuffle their packs ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

For Scotland, head coach Gregor Townsend will very much be looking to build on success as his side follow up their third place in the Six Nations with Tests against Canada (10 June), USA (17 June) and Argentina (23 June).

The Scots have enjoyed a memorable 12 months under Townsend but now look to be targeting squad depth having rested the likes of Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Jonny Gray, and included six uncapped players.

Here, we take a look at a few men who we think could be in for big summers.

Adam Hastings – Glasgow Warriors

Finn Russell hasn’t missed many games for Scotland over the last few years but in the absence of a clear understudy, this looks to be possibly the most important question for Townsend to resolve over the summer.

With 33 caps, Pete Horne is the most experienced of the possible options here whilst Glasgow Warriors teammate Adam Hastings is uncapped, as is Harlequins man James Lang.

Lang is fresh-faced at 23 but at 21 Hastings is even younger. The son of former British & Irish Lions legend Gavin, Hastings has played a fair amount of rugby for the Warriors this season and could get a shot on tour.

Hastings made nine appearances in the Guinness PRO14 this campaign, scoring one try and assisting six others – he will no doubt hope to carry on his development in the national shirt this month.

Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby

Edinburgh Rugby’s Blair Kinghorn has been one of the most effective backs in the Guinness PRO14 this season but finds himself in the unfortunate situation of playing in the same position as one of the world’s best players – Stuart Hogg.

Despite this, Kinghorn is expected to get significant game-time in a Scotland shirt this summer either at full-back or on the wing, whilst he’s also played plenty of rugby at fly-half as a youngster.

Kinghorn made 17 Championship appearances this season, scoring five tries, assisting seven and getting through a mountain of work with 174 carries.

The 21-year-old also made 22 clean breaks, beat 62 defenders and claimed the most metres in the Guinness PRO14 – 1484 – numbers that mean he should add to his two caps this summer.

Guinness Pro14 rugby semi final playoff Thomond Park Limerick 5/5/2018 Munster vs Edinburgh Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

George Horne – Glasgow Warriors

Another potential debutant is George Horne, the 23-year-old brother of established Scotland playmaker Peter Horne and an up and coming scrum-half.

Horne has represented his country throughout the age groups and has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Glasgow, where he’s earned increasing time in the No.9 shirt as the season has progressed.

Horne has been selected ahead of Ali Price and Henry Pyrgos for the Warriors at times this season, scored 10 tries and was named both player and young player of the season.

Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh

June could also be a big month for Edinburgh’s Magnus Bradbury, with fellow Scotland back rowers John Barclay and Hamish Watson out with injury, whilst Ryan Wilson and Josh Strauss are rested.

The 22-year-old flanker has earned two caps for his country previously, the first coming against Argentina in 2016, after representing Scotland through the age groups and in sevens.

Bradbury has been a key cog in Edinburgh’s strong season under Richard Cockerill that saw the club reach the Guinness Pro14 semi-final qualifiers

A mobile back row, Bradbury has already captained his club at young age and will be keen to continue his development this summer, with Glasgow’s Matt Fagerson also offering competition.

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