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McCallum earns call amid front-row crisis FORTOWNSEND's men.

UNCAPPED Edinburgh prop Murray McCallum has been included in Scotland's NatWest 6 Nations squad.

The 21-year-old has won a callup amid a selection crisis in Gregor Townsend's front row which sees Fraser Brown miss out through injury.

Full-back Stuart Hogg is in the squad despite an ongoing hip problem.

Scotland's problems in the front row also see uncapped Glasgow prop D'Arcy Rae included and Jon Welsh and Scott Lawson recalled following several years out of the reckoning.

Edinburgh prop Simon Berghan is suspended for the opening match and several front-row regulars, including Ross Ford, Zander Fagerson, WP Nel and Allan Dell, are missing through injury.

With Berghan suspended and Fagerson and Nel sidelined, Newcastle's Welsh is the leading contender to start at tight-head in Scotland's opener against Wales on February 3. The 31-year-old has not featured since the World Cup in 2015.

Full-back Blair Kinghorn and scrum-half Nathan Fowles complete a quartet of uncapped players in Townsend's 40-man pool. Greig Laidlaw, Richie Gray and Mark Bennett are all included after missing the autumn series through injury.

Laidlaw, 32, has not played a Test for almost a year and is just returning from a broken leg.

Lock Gray has only just resumed action for Toulouse after recovering from a back problem, while Edinburgh centre Bennett returns after missing the autumn series.

Townsend, said: "It's a bigger squad than we originally planned - which is largely down to the competition for places - with a number of players having performed well in the autumn Tests and a few others putting their hands up for selection in recent weeks.

"We welcome Blair Kinghorn into our group for the first time, who has been in excellent form with Edinburgh this season, and also three of our most experienced players in Richie Gray, Greig Laidlaw and Scott Lawson.

"We are looking forward to working with them and the rest of the squad to ensure that we build on the momentum the players generated in 2017."

Scotland squad Backs: M Bennett (Edinburgh), A Dunbar (Glasgow), N Grigg (Glasgow), C Harris (Newcastle), S Hogg (Glasgow), P Horne (Glasgow), R Jackson (Glasgow), H Jones (Glasgow), L Jones (Glasgow), B Kinghorn (Edinburgh), G Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), S Maitland (Saracens), B McGuigan (Sale Sharks), A Price (Glasgow), H Pyrgos (Glasgow), F Russell (Glasgow), T Seymour (Glasgow), D Taylor (Saracens), N Fowles (Edinburgh). Forwards: J Barclay (Scarlets, capt), S Berghan (Edinburgh), J Bhatti (Glasgow), M Bradbury (Edinburgh), D Denton (Worcester), C bDu Preez (Edinburgh), G Gilchrist (Edinburgh), J Gray (Glasgow), R Gray (Toulouse), L Hamilton (Leicester), R Harley (Glasgow), S Lawson (Newcastle), M McCallum (Edinburgh), S McInally (Edinburgh), G Reid (London Irish), D Rae (Glasgow), B Toolis (Edinburgh), G Turner (Glasgow), H Watson (Edinburgh), J Welsh (Newcastle), R Wilson (Glasgow).

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<B Murray McCallum in action for Edinburgh against Dragons

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 17, 2018
Words:468
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