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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 15:04 UK

Uncapped trio get Scotland call

Alex Grove, Richie Vernon and Alan MacDonald
Grove, Vernon and MacDonald impressed for Scotland A in Romania

Worcester's Alex Grove, Edinburgh's Alan MacDonald and Glasgow Warriors' Richie Vernon have been named in the Scotland squad for the first time.

The uncapped players are included in Andy Robinson's 32-man squad - his first in charge - for next month's autumn international against Fiji.

Robinson was impressed by the trio, who were part of the A team that won the IRB Nations Cup in Romania this summer.

"We've chosen the squad primarily on the basis of current form," he said.

"And there's a good balance of players with 10 each from Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors and 12 Exiles."

But there is no place in the squad for Glasgow kicking specialist Dan Parks, who had widely been tipped for a recall because of a lack of options at fly-half.

Robinson cited Parks, along with Northampton Saints' Scott Gray and Edinburgh's Allister Hogg, as players whose form is being monitored closely for possible inclusion in future Tests.

The competition in the back-row is intense with Roddy Grant also knocking on the door

Scotland coach Andy Robinson

With Ruaridh Jackson unavailable through injury, it leaves the squad with just one specialist number 10 - Phil Godman - with full-back Chris Paterson, who has started only 11 of his 95 tests at fly-half, being the back-up.

"I believe that Phil Godman is an outstanding fly-half and he's going to be starting at 10 for Scotland," said Robinson.

"It's looking at the balance of who will be on the bench or playing at 15 for us.

"I'm looking at Chris as that option to cover 10. He's an outstanding goal-kicker.

Robinson opts for 'balanced' squad

"Because Chris has not played that much at 10, he would need to do some practise during our sessions."

Hogg was the other surprise omission, losing out both to Edinburgh team-mate MacDonald and Vernon.

"That's one of the toughest decisions that I've had to make," Robinson said. "I rate Ally Hogg very, very highly.

"Of the players that are coming in, Richie Vernon has performed well.

"Alan MacDonald, I think, has been right on top of his game and Ally, unfortunately, didn't get the nod there.

"It's time for him to go away and perform for Edinburgh and get that opportunity."

Along with MacDonald, whose call-up coincided with his 24th birthday, and 22-year-old Vernon, Robinson praised 21-year-old centre/full-back Grove.

"He's cemented his place at Worcester, playing in the Premiership and is delivering week in, week out," he said.


"There are a number of players who have played well who aren't in the squad.

"Kyle Trayor and Roddy Grant have done very well for Edinburgh. They're unlucky to miss out."

Robinson will not name his captain until after the squad gather for a three-day camp at St Andrews on Monday 2 November.

They then reconvene at Murrayfield the following Sunday ahead of the Fiji match at the national stadium on Saturday 14 November.

Robinson said that other players could yet force their way into contention for the remaining games in the Autumn Tests - against Australia on 21 November and Argentina on 28 November.

Two Glasgow players who are returning from injury, centre Max Evans and lock Richie Gray, will join the Scotland squad for their camp at St Andrews as part of their recovery programme.

Scotland squad: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Cairns (Edinburgh), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Thom Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Scott MacLeod (Edinburgh), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Jason White (Clermont Auvergne).

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