Rugby

NZ-born Blake to make Scotland debut

2015-08-13 14:49
Hugh Blake (Getty Images)

London - New Zealand-born flank Hugh Blake will make his Scotland debut in Saturday's World Cup warm-up match against Ireland after being named in head coach Vern Cotter's starting XV on Thursday.

Blake, 22, was called up by Cotter for this year's Six Nations just weeks after arriving from New Zealand and before he had played a match for Edinburgh.

He did not feature at the tournament and subsequently signed for Glasgow, but will now make his debut against Ireland at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

"It's been important to get a good look at everyone over the last two months," Cotter said in a press release issued by the Scottish Rugby Union.

"The strength and conditioning team have worked hard to get more power and endurance from our players, while we've also focused a lot on basic skill sets.

"The successful application of these elements will enable us to perform the various forms of rugby that we would like to play; dominating collisions and using these skill sets to become better at making and executing decisions.

"These 23 players now have the first chance to stake a claim for the final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, against what we know is quality opposition."

Blake's England-born Glasgow team-mate Mike Cusack could also earn his first cap after being named on the bench.

Former No 8 Richie Vernon returns at centre after a three-year international absence, while Wasps back Ruaridh Jackson will line up in an unfamiliar full-back role.

Lock Grant Gilchrist also returns, having spent 10 months on the sidelines with an arm injury that prevented him from skippering the side in last year's end-of-year internationals.

Glasgow scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos captains the team.

After playing Ireland, Scotland will also face Italy twice and France as they gear up for their opening World Cup Pool B match against Japan in Gloucester on September 23.

Cotter will trim his 47-man training squad down to a final list of 31 players for the tournament on September 2.

Teams:

Ireland

TBA

Scotland

15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 David Denton, 7 Hugh Blake, 6 Blair Cowan, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Ryan Grant

Substitutes: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Rob Harley, 20 John Barclay, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Matt Scott

Read more on:    scotland  |  rwc 2015  |  rugby
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