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Hamish Watson one of three released by Scotland after Italy loss

By Josh Raisey
Hamish Watson is seen during a training session at Oriam High Performance Centre on February 20, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Flanker Hamish Watson is out of the Scotland squad ahead of their Guinness Six Nations encounter with Ireland in Dublin this Saturday.

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The 2021 Player of the Championship has been released alongside Jamie Bhatti and lock Glen Young, while the Glasgow Warriors trio of back row Ally Miller, who has received his first-ever call-up, and locks Alex Samuel and Max Williamson have been drafted into Gregor Townsend’s squad.

Not one of the departing trio featured for Scotland in their 31-29 loss to Italy on Saturday in Rome, nor had they appeared in any of the opening three rounds of the Championship this year.

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Scotland will head to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday knowing they are still mathematically in the hunt for the Championship, but it would require a sizeable bonus-point victory over Andy Farrell’s side, while depriving them of any points. Even then, they will be depending on France to beat England.

The 2021 British & Irish Lion Watson has been in and out of the Scotland camp over the past two months having failed to originally make the squad.

Six Nations

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Ireland
4
3
1
0
16
2
England
4
3
1
0
12
3
Scotland
4
2
2
0
11
4
France
4
2
1
1
11
5
Italy
4
1
2
1
7
6
Wales
4
0
4
0
3

As a guest on The Big Jim Show recently, the flanker opened up on how his conversation with Townsend went over his dropping.

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“I had a brief conversation with Gregor, when he rang me up to say I wasn’t in the squad,” he said.

“He’ll give you a few work-ons, which was a conversation between me and Gregor so I’m not going to go into it.

“One or two of them you’d be like ‘yeah, fair enough,’ then some you think they’re just pulling out of anywhere just to fill the time.

“I think the one thing that all rugby players realise is that you’d rather just have a completely honest conversation with your coach and for them to be really honest with you.

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“As a player, you can always get better, you can always have work-ons, so I don’t disagree with being given work-ons because everyone can always be way better.”

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Jon 23 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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