September 3, 2019 / 10:31 AM / 13 days ago

Skipper McInally backed to shine as Scotland name World Cup squad

(Reuters) - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said calming influence Stuart McInally will bring the best out of other players in the team at the World Cup in Japan after naming the Edinburgh hooker as the captain of their 31-man squad on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England v Scotland - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 16, 2019 Scotland's Stuart McInally celebrates with the Calcutta cup after the match REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The 29-year-old, who has 29 caps for his country, was chosen ahead of the experienced John Barclay and Greig Laidlaw for the tournament which kicks off later this month.

"Stuart has done a really good job in the opportunities he's had to captain Scotland," Townsend, who named 13 players with previous World Cup experience, said in a statement here

“He captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games. He’s a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others.

“We have a number of leaders in our squad and it was great to see them work well together out in Georgia last week.”

Barclay, the most experienced player of the group with 74 caps, will be preparing for a third World Cup campaign having featured in 2007 and 2011.

He is among 10 Edinburgh players in the squad while Glasgow Warriors contributed the most players with 12.

Centres Huw Jones and Rory Hutchinson missed out along with forwards Josh Strauss, Matt Fagerson and Magnus Bradbury.

“There were a number of tough calls given the quality of our wider training squad, and on the close decisions we’ve looked to select players that have strong defensive attributes and are willing to outwork their opposite number,” Townsend said.

“Some very good players have missed out on selection this time, but they know they’ll have to keep working hard because, in a World Cup, an opportunity can come around quickly.”

Scotland, quarter-finalists in 2015, kick off their campaign in Pool A against Ireland on Sept. 22 before matches against Samoa, Russia and hosts Japan.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis

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