SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has confirmed the addition of Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to his Nations Cup training squad, and the reintegration of Sean Maitland following his exclusion from last weekend’s victory over Wales following his breach Covid protocols whilst on Barbarians duty the previous week. 

Glasgow Warriors triumvirate Richie Gray (who is currently out of action with a concussion), Rob Harley and Ratu Tagive have been released from the squad, which reduces the group of players down to 35. Stand-off duo of Finn Russell and Adam Hastings left the squad earlier this week due to injury. 

“We welcome Sam into camp after a successful time with Exeter Chiefs and he will add further competition at scrum-half,” said Townsend. 

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose two quality players like Finn and Adam, who had both been playing well. However, this provides an opportunity to other players come into the team and lead our attack. The squad adapted well at the weekend to the enforced changes and we have belief in those in our squad that can step up to play at stand-off.” 

Scotland kick-off their four match Nations Cup campaign away to Italy next Saturday, and none of the 35 players currently in the training squad will be released to play for Edinburgh or Glasgow Warriors in their Guinness PRO14 matches on Monday night.  

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that there will be no spectators at Murrayfield for any Autumn Test this year. 

“Scottish Rugby is disappointed supporters won’t be able to come to the stadium this autumn, but consultation continues with the Scottish Government in the expectation crowds can return at some capacity soon and specifically for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, should the public health guidelines allow,” said a statement from the SRU. 

Scotland squad for the Autumn Nations Cup: 

FORWARDS (20): Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Haining (Edinburgh), Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) and Hamish Watson (Edinburgh). 

BACKS (15): Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Harris (Gloucester), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN, George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), James Lang (Harlequins), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Steele (London Irish), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) and Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors).