British & Irish Lions lock Richie Gray looks certain to miss out on this year’s World Cup in Japan after he missed out on one of the last two places in Scotland’s pre-tournament training squad which were announced yesterday.

The lock, who is the only current Scottish international player to have played Test rugby for the Lions and among the relative few even to have toured with the Home Unions select side, has missed a huge amount of rugby over the past two seasons due to injury.

He had, however, made his latest comeback in January and while that was too late for him to have any real chance of involvement in this season’s Six Nations Championship, he has now made sufficient appearances for his club Toulouse to have his fitness and form assessed.

He has, however, struggled to get much game time in France in recent weeks and has now missed out on the Scotland training squad in favour of 22-year-old Scott Cummings, his fellow Kelvinside Academical who has worked his way up the pecking order to establish himself as a regular starter for Glasgow in the latter part of this season.

The Herald:

READ MORE: Reliance on homegrown produce is feeding Leinster's winning culture in exemplary style

Head coach Gregor Townsend had indicated that both Cummings and Gray, whose younger brother Jonny is in the Scotland squad and partnered Cummings in their Pro14 play-off matches, were among four locks under consideration when he initially announced 42 players in that group, but said places had been left available at second row and for an additional outside back and that a decision would be made on the basis of performance in the closing stages of the season.

Cummings and fellow Glasgow Warrior Kyle Steyn have now claimed those places courtesy of their contributions to Glasgow’s win over Ulster in the Pro14 semi-final and subsequent narrow defeat to Leinster in last Saturday’s Grand Final at Celtic Park.

“We are fortunate to have a number of very good second-rows available to us right now,” Townsend said yesterday.

“With Richie Gray, Tim Swinson and Andrew Davidson also in contention for this remaining place in our World Cup squad, Scott’s selection is a testament to how well he has performed throughout the season and in particular over the past few weeks.

“Scott has played very well in some crucial games for Glasgow and has really taken his game to the opposition. He was impressive in his ball carrying, defence and his all-round work-rate on Saturday against Leinster and we look forward to working with him and the other four second-rows in our squad."

The Herald:

READ MORE: Hogg brought down to earth with a thump as farewell ends in defeat

South African-born Steyn, who qualifies to play for Scotland thanks to his Glaswegian mother, has meanwhile emerged in remarkable fashion from obscurity since being brought to Scotstoun from the Scotland sevens squad in January at the relatively advanced age of 25, looking the most purposeful and effective of Glasgow’s backs during both those play-off matches, having been an ever present in the 10 matches they have played since he made his debut against Connacht in January.

“Kyle has made an excellent impact since his debut for Glasgow earlier this season and has displayed strong defensive capabilities as well as a providing go-forward for his team when carrying ball,” said Townsend.

"His versatility is a bonus. He started out playing on the wing for Glasgow, has moved into the centre and has performed equally well in both roles.

“With every game he has looked more assured and, from our point of view, he will primarily be considered a winger who can cover the centre position. We have others in our squad that we view more as centre/wings but I’m sure over the course of the summer Kyle will get the opportunity to show what he can do in both positions.”

Their inclusions take the Glasgow Warriors contingent in the 44-man squad to 19 and all of them will now be given time off to rest before checking into camp next month.