Former England prop Alec Hepburn earns first Scotland call-up for Six Nations

Alec Hepburn in action for Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints Alec Hepburn is one of four uncapped players included in the Scotland squad (David Davies/PA)

Former England prop Alec Hepburn is one of four uncapped players included in Scotland’s 39-man squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

The 29-year Exeter loosehead, who won six caps under Eddie Jones in 2018, has completed his three-year stand-down period to switch allegiance to the nation of his father’s birth.

Leicester tighthead Will Hurd, Sale winger Arron Reed – both 24 – and 22-year-old Edinburgh back Harry Paterson are the other three new additions in Gregor Townsend’s squad.

Northampton back Rory Hutchinson will be looking to add to his eight caps after returning to the fold for the first time since appearing in two Tests on the tour to Argentina in 2022, while Gloucester stand-off Adam Hastings is back in after missing the World Cup last autumn through injury.

Josh Bayliss, Kyle Rowe and Stafford McDowall are also restored after being cut from the World Cup training squad in the summer.

Glasgow trio Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey and Kyle Steyn have all made the selection despite their recent injury lay-offs, although Darge is unlikely to be fit until midway through the tournament.

The most notable absentees from the squad are Hamish Watson, Rory Sutherland and Chris Harris – all of whom played for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa in 2021.

Hooker Dave Cherry – who departed the World Cup squad in September after falling down stairs at the team hotel in Nice on a day off – has also been omitted, with on-form Glasgow forward Johnny Matthews added to the squad.

Scotland kick off their campaign away to Wales on February 3.

Scotland Six Nations squad

Forwards: Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby), Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), Andy Christie (Saracens), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Will Hurd (Leicester Tigers), Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors), WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Glen Young (Edinburgh Rugby)

Backs: Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Toulouse), Stafford McDowall (Glasgow Warriors), Harry Paterson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ali Price (Edinburgh Rugby), Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby), Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Warriors), Finn Russell (Bath Rugby), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby), Ben White (Toulon)

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