Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Ex-England and New Zealand youth internationals included in Scotland squad

Ex-England and New Zealand youth internationals included in Scotland squad

Gregor Townsend continues to trawl for something different as he builds Scotland towards the World Cup a year from now but Sam Skinner's presence in a Scotland squad named for the Autumn Tests yesterday was really out of left field. However, while there had been some speculation that his clubmate Ollie Atkins, the former Edinburgh lock, might receive a call up, the inclusion instead of 23-year-old English-born Sam Skinner, who like Thomson can play both second and back row, was very much a surprise.

Townsend said the 27-year-old Thomson had been on his radar for some time.

Scarlets forward Thomson was born in New Zealand and represented the All Blacks at youth level but failed to make the grade for the seniors, opting instead to pursue an global career with the Scots.

Scotland have been boosted by the return of key players for their November internationals, including Jonny Gray, Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Tommy Seymour. We'd known about his Scottish qualification for a number of years as he was involved in the Exiles programme as a youngster. I was even interested in signing him for Glasgow before he missed a couple of years through injury.

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They join Glasgow centre Johnson in the 40-man group named ahead of next month's clash with Wales in Cardiff and three Murrayfield Tests against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.

"We now begin the last 12 months of our preparations for the World Cup with four tests in four weeks, a similar challenge to the one we'll face in Japan", Townsend said in a statement from Scottish Rugby.

"It's going to be an exciting year for the squad but our primary focus is fixed on performing well against Wales - familiar opponents who have already recorded a win against us this year".

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