Gregor Townsend wants Scotland new boys to make an impact on summer tour

Gregor Townsend is looking for some of his Scotland new boys to extend their international careers past the summer tour which starts against Canada on Saturday.

Head coach Townsend has named five uncapped players in his starting XV for the match at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa and up to 10 debutants could be involved by the end of the game.

Edinburgh centre Matt Currie, wing Arron Reed and his Sale team-mate, scrum-half Gus Warr, second-rower Max Williamson and his Glasgow Warriors back-row team-mate Gregor Brown, all start the match.

Northampton hooker Robbie Smith, Glasgow prop Nathan McBeth, Leicester prop Will Hurd, Oyannax second row Ewan Johnson and Edinburgh wing Ross McCann will hope to make their debuts off the bench, with Edinburgh’s Patrick Harrison looking to earn his first cap before the end of the tour.

After taking on the Canadians, the Scots face the United States in Washington on July 12, then meet the challenge of Chile in Santiago on July 20 before finishing off the tour against Uruguay in Montevideo seven days later, with Townsend looking to see who grabs their opportunity to become a regular member of his squad.

He said: “When we selected the squad, one of the principles we had was, do we believe these players can play for us not just now, they get an opportunity now, but November (Autumn Tests) and in the Six Nations? That’s the goal.

“Players that we think can make a difference for us as we go into next season.

“Maybe I can give an example of Elliot Millar-Mills.

Matt Currie scores a try for Edinburgh
Matt Currie is one uncapped player in the Scotland squad (Steve Welsh/PA)

“Elliott was called up on the Sunday night, after Will Hurd got injured on the Saturday playing for Leicester the week before we came into our Six Nations camp.

“He grabbed his opportunity coming off the bench against Wales and in other games and has taken his game to another level since the Six Nations.

“Now we have a view of him being someone who’s competing really hard with Zander (Fagerson), that can not only add depth to us at tighthead but can make a difference when he plays.

“So there was just one example from the Six Nations, there will be a lot more over the next few weeks of players grabbing their opportunity and being genuine contenders for our Test team that plays in South Africa in November.

“They understand the expectations we have of them, the belief we have in them. Time to adapt – it’s not really something at test level you have much of, trying to build cohesion as quickly as possible.

“What we’ve seen so far is the players have adapted really well and they’re putting their best foot forward.

“And with any player that’s winning the first cap, we want to see in the performance what got them into the squad and what got them selected in the first place which is their game, their strengths.”

Townsend insists the new faces have already brought an excitement to his squad.

He said: “It’s exciting, refreshing.

“It challenges the experienced players to step up to show their standards of training, what is expected, but also the more established players can learn from these younger players.

“We know it’s going to be a great occasion for a number of players this weekend, winning their first caps and some of them their first starts and we are really excited to see them play.

“They’ve trained really well, today’s session was excellent in terms of the level of physicality and understanding in such a short time, of what we want to do this weekend.”