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Exclusion of Hutchinson and co is evidence of genuine Scottish strength in depth

Fans are claiming positives about the depth of Scottish rugby in the wake of Gregor Townsend announcing his 31-man squad for the World Cup.

There were some noticeable exclusions from the squad, namely Rory Hutchinson and Huw Jones in the centres and Matt Fagerson and Magnus Bradbury in the back row, which have vexed some fans. 

Hutchinson’s omission has caused the most outrage on social media, despite the centre only earning three caps. He has already won over many Scotland fans, particularly after last season with Northampton, and his ability to play centre or fly-half makes him a popular figure. However, Pete Horne, who is equally versatile, has been picked ahead of him. 

Fans are also shocked that Jones has failed to make the squad after being a focal point in Townsend’s teams so far during his tenure as head coach. Yet, while there are those that are not happy with these decisions, other fans are seeing the other side of the coin – that this selection is a sign of the alleged current strength in depth in Scottish rugby.

Some fans are saying this is the strongest squad in years, believing that Townsend must have had a real selection dilemma. In the case of the back row, while there are some players that are unlucky to miss out, the question would be who to drop to accommodate them. 

There are always going to be certain players that different fans do not want in the squad, but on the whole, it is understandable why Townsend has opted for every player he picked. Horne may be a controversial call, but he is versatile, experienced and has been tested by Townsend in the past. 

With Sam Johnson, Duncan Taylor and Chris Harris being the other centres in the squad, two good players were always going to miss out and some fans are enjoying the depth in that position. This is what has been said: 

Having only made his Scotland debut just over two weeks ago, the 23-year-old Hutchinson’s rise in popularity has been staggering. But his form for the Saints last season was sensational, making the shortlist for the Premiership discovery of the year award. 

Hutchinson will no doubt be a reserve should an injury arise to someone in Japan, but this is one of a few players fans think should be part of the squad. 

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Exclusion of Hutchinson and co is evidence of genuine Scottish strength in depth