Worcester Warriors centre Alex Grove has been selected by Scotland A as they seek to maintain their fine recent run at Netherdale when they face England Saxons at the Galashiels ground in a mouth-watering Calcutta Cup curtain raiser on Friday, February 3 (kick-off 7.30pm).
Inspired by large Borders crowds, Scotland A have won their last four fixtures at the venue, beating Tonga in November 2009 and securing a 100% return from games against USA Eagles, Ireland Wolfhounds and Italy A last season.
Scotland A will have a new head coach for the occasion, Edinburgh Rugby’s Michael Bradley taking the reigns from last year’s leader Nick Scrivener. The former Ireland, Ireland A and Ireland under-21 coach will be assisted by Stevie Scott (Sale Sharks) and former Warrior Craig Chalmers (Melrose), both of whom are well acquainted with the passion that the Borders public bring to such occasions.
Bradley today named an initial squad of 15 players who will convene for training at Murrayfield on Monday 30 January. The group will be supplemented by members of the Scotland squad for the opening two rounds of the RBS 6 Nations Championship, with details to be communicated in due course.
The initial selection features eight players from Glasgow Warriors, four from Edinburgh Rugby, and three exiles, Jack Cuthbert (Bath), Grove (Worcester Warriors) and Grant Shiells (Newcastle Falcons).
Bradley told www.scotlandrugbyteam.org: “The game against England Saxons is shaping up to be a fantastic occasion. There’s a great opportunity for our players to come together and prove they have what it takes to win on the international stage for Scotland, benefiting from the support of what I’m sure will be a terrific crowd.
“We’ve named a group of guys today who deserve recognition for the form they’ve shown with their clubs in the first part of the season. I’m hugely looking forward to working with them and the other players who will join us from the Scotland squad in the week of the game.
“It’s about fronting up to what is sure to be massively physical challenge from England Saxons, and bringing together all the positive things we’ve seen from these players so far this season in one passionate, committed and ultimately winning performance for Scotland.”
SCOTLAND A SQUAD TO PLAY ENGLAND SAXONS AT NETHERDALE, GALASHIELS ON FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY (KICK-OFF 7.30PM)
Tom Brown (Edinburgh Rugby)
Jack Cuthbert (Bath Rugby)
Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors)
Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors)
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors)
Matthew Scott (Edinburgh Rugby)
Colin Shaw (Glasgow Warriors)
Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors)
Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors)
Roddy Grant (Edinburgh Rugby)
Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)
Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors)
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby)
Grant Shiells (Newcastle Falcons)
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)