B sting! Johnnie Beattie out of his World Cup squad

ANDY ROBINSON yesterday killed off Scotland’s “killer Bs” – by leaving Johnnie Beattie out of his World Cup squad.

Coach Robinson’s snub for the breakaway forward was the single major shock when he revealed his pool for New Zealand.

Beattie had been part of the globally feared back-row unit along with John Barclay and Kelly Brown.

But Robbo reckons Beattie failed to recapture his lethal touch in the wake of a long injury lay-off – and has opted to pin his faith in former Glasgow mate Richie Vernon, Edinburgh youngster Ross Rennie and Gloucester’s Al Strokosch.

Robinson said: “It would have been easy for me to put Johnnie in the squad – but it all came down to the intense competition in the back row, combinations and consistency. He missed out as well four years ago and this time it is down to the consistency of the others.

“Rennie has been pushing Barclay and he is a livelier player whose offloading skills have been impressive.

“Brown’s been a consistent and outstanding performer, while Strokosch is a very physical guy who is always in the game with his exceptional work-rate.

“It also came down to the pace of Vernon, which can add so much to our game. Richie’s maturing as a player as we saw against Italy.

“Johnnie knows the reasons for being left out and now it is up to him to improve in these aspects of his game. Seven others from our original squad have been unfortunate and that is due to the talent available to me.”

Ally Kellock – confirmed as skipper – couldn’t disguise his anguish for the plight of Warriors chum Beattie. He said: “I missed the cut four years ago, so I know how he feels. It will be a very tough time for him – but he must go back to Glasgow and focus on that job.

“From my point of view it is about reflecting on the huge honour of being selected for the squad in the first instance, which is magnified by being asked to captain the squad.

“I intend to do my utmost to reward the coaches’ faith in me and make the country proud by what we achieve in New Zealand.”

Glasgow chief Sean Lineen added: “To Johnnie and our other lads who missed out, I’d like to offer my commiserations because I know how hard they’ve pushed.

“It’s right and proper that they’ll be disappointed but I’m looking forward to having them back and raring to go as we look ahead to our friendly at Sale Sharks on Friday.”

Other major talking points include the inclusion of Chris Paterson for his FOURTH World Cup campaign.

Prop Euan Murray also got the nod, despite refusing to play on Sundays due to his deep Christian faith.

But Greig Laidlaw has missed out to old hands Chris Cusiter and Mikey Blair in the race to back up Rory Lawson at scrum half.

Scotland World Cup squad — J Ansbro, M Blair, C Cusiter, S Danielli, N De Luca, M Evans, R Jackson, R Lamont, S Lamont, R Lawson, G Morrison, D Park, C Paterson, J Barclay, K Brown, G Cross, A Dickinson, R Ford, R Gray, D Hall, J Hamilton, N Hines, A Jacobsen, A Kellock, S Lawson, M Low, E Murray, R Rennie, A Strokosch, R Vernon.