Uncapped quartet in Scotland World Cup squad

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has named four uncapped players in a 40-strong provisional squad for the World Cup in New Zealand this autumn.

They are Glasgow duo Robert Harley and Ryan Grant, Edinburgh’s David Denton and Bath full-back Jack Cuthbert.

And there are 19 players in the pool without World Cup experience.

Ten players will be trimmed from the provisional squad when the final 30 are named after Scotland’s warm-up Tests against Ireland and Italy in August.

“I’m pleased with the squad,” said Robinson. “There’s a good blend of the experienced, the battle-hardened and up and coming talent.

“The task that lies ahead for these players now is to be at the very peak of their powers in order to do themselves, their families, friends and country proud in New Zealand in September and October.

“Scotland have always qualified from the pool stages to reach the quarter-finals at the six previous Rugby World Cup tournaments and that has to be our first target this autumn.”

Scotland will be up against Romania, Georgia, Argentina and England.

Home-based Scotland players will begin their World Cup training camp on 20 June, with Robinson explaining: “All of our players will be on individual development programmes aimed at improving them as rugby players through a combination of fitness, strength and conditioning, led by Neill Potts and his team, and skills coaching.

“Amicable discussions are continuing with Exile players who are at PRL clubs in England in order that they will be able to join the training camp as soon as possible thereafter.”

Scotland’s most-capped player Chris Paterson is targeting his fourth World Cup, a landmark for a Scot.

The only player missing from this year’s Six Nations, in which Scotland finished fifth, is 24-cap lock Scott MacLeod, who will leave Edinburgh in the summer to join Kobe Steel in Japan.

Chris Cusiter, the 52-cap British Lions scrum-half who missed the Six Nations because of a knee injury, makes the list.

He recovered to play three times for Glasgow and at the weekend he left for Sydney for a month-long stint with Southern Districts in the New South Wales championship to improve his fitness.

Scotland squad:

Backs – Joe Ansbro (Northampton Saints), Mike Blair, Ben Cairns (both Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Jack Cuthbert (Bath), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), Nikki Walker (Ospreys).

Forwards – John Barclay, John Beattie (both Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross, David Denton (both Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant, Richie Gray, Dougie Hall (all Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Fergus Thomson, Richie Vernon (both Glasgow Warriors).