Scotland have lost two potential test starters even before they’ve boarded the plane for the four-match tour to South America – but they’re “happy and excited” by who is left.
Adam Hastings and Huw Jones both picked up injuries in the final games for their clubs and won’t tour. Nor will they be replaced, with the only call-up for the final sessions being Glasgow hooker Jonny Matthews.
Defence coach Steve Tandy said Matthews was a late call for illness to George Turner, but the first choice hooker probably wasn’t going to play in the opening game against Chile in Santiago.
That game, on June 25, will feature a Scotland ‘A’ selection, with home-based players only.
‘It’s a chance to get further connected’
Scotland squad update:
Adam Hastings (hamstring) and Huw Jones (back) will not travel for the summer tour due to injuries picked up in their final club games of the season.
In the forward pack, Jonny Matthews has joined the squad. pic.twitter.com/HU4ryF2Fbk
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 17, 2022
There’s certainly a developmental scope in the squad selected, and Tandy said he was enthused to work with new faces in the camp.
“We feel very fortunate and grateful that we’re able to tour with guys that know the course and have massive connection,” he said.
“There’s great excitement, great opportunities for people and it’s a chance to go on tour for four weeks. We haven’t done that for a long time.
“It’s a chance to get further connected and be in a really hostile environment for those test matches.”
Three games against Argentina follow the match against Chile, and while the PUmas are a known quantity, Chile are a step into the relatively unknown.
“The first game is going to be home-based guys so we have a few ideas around that. We want to give people opportunities and it’s a great chance to do that against Chile.
“But we don’t want to underestimate them either. They beat Canada to have a chance at the World Cup.
“They are a real physical outfit and they want to play. We’d like to see everyone get an opportunity at some point, but we’ll definitely taking Chile very seriously.
“Genuinely, I always feel excitement coming in whatever group we’ve got. We have connections with Glasgow and Edinburgh, and we see the boys who are really new to us.
‘We’re striving to be better’
Your Scotland Squad for the upcoming Summer Tour has been confirmed. #AsOne
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 8, 2022
“It’s just absolute excitement to see all the boys and the energy they’re bringing. They’re understanding, learning and development has been very good for us.”
Tandy agreed that after a couple of “amazing” seasons defensively, the 2022 Six Nations had been a disappointment in his speciality.
“There’s always going to be a bit of recalibration,” he said. “Looking back at the Six Nations, the France game was a big disappointment but I don’t think it was all around the D.
“The last 15 minutes against Italy, we were really disappointed with that. But it was nothing we felt about what they were doing, it was where we need to be.
“Ultimately, we’re striving to be better than we were there.”