Six Nations LIVE: Scotland call up England World Cup wing Ruaridh McConnochie to 40-man squad

Ruaridh McConnochie featured for England at the 2019 World Cup

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named four uncapped players in his squad for the Six Nations Championship.

Ospreys centre Keiran Williams, Cardiff centre Mason Grady, Ospreys lock Rhys Davies and Cardiff second-row forward Teddy Williams have all been selected. Scarlets hooker Ken Owens has been appointed captain, being preferred to other candidates such as Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones.

Scotland have once again taken advantage of world rugby’s recent change in eligibility rules to include English cap Ruaridh McConnochie in their Six Nations squad.

In a similar move to the one that allowed Jack Dempsey to convert from Australia to Scotland earlier this season, Gregor Townsend has persuaded the 31-year-old Bath wing to pledge his allegiance to the nation of his father’s birth three and a half years after making two appearances – including one at the 2019 World Cup – for England.

There are three other uncapped players in Townsend’s 40-man squad.

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Today’s top rugby news

Wales select four uncapped players for Six Nations with Ken Owens named captain:

Wales select four uncapped players for Six Nations with Ken Owens named captain

Returning coach Warren Gatland has picked a 37-man group

Scotland use rule change to name England wing Ruaridh McConnochie in Six Nations squad:

Scotland use rule change to name England wing in Six Nations squad

Bath’s Ruaridh McConnochie has pledged his allegiance to the nation of his father’s birth three and a half years after making two appearances for England

Gregor Townsend names four rookies in Scotland’s 40-man squad:

Scotland name four uncapped players in Six Nations squad

Gregor Townsend has selected a 40-man group for the tournament

Scotland call up England’s 2019 World Cup wing Ruaridh McConnochie

Scotland have once again taken advantage of world rugby’s recent change in eligibility rules to include English cap Ruaridh McConnochie in their Six Nations squad.

In a similar move to the one that allowed Jack Dempsey to convert from Australia to Scotland earlier this season, Gregor Townsend has persuaded the 31-year-old Bath wing to pledge his allegiance to the nation of his father’s birth three and a half years after making two appearances – including one at the 2019 World Cup – for England.

There are three other uncapped players in Townsend’s 40-man squad.

Munster stand-off Ben Healy, who will join Edinburgh in the summer, is Scottish qualified through his mother and will provide back-up for Finn Russell at number 10.

Glasgow centre Stafford McDowall and Leicester second-row Cameron Henderson are the other two included who are yet to feature for the national team.

Darcy Graham, who scored a hat-trick of tries in Scotland’s last match against Argentina in November, has not been included as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. It remains to be seen if he will be fit enough to be called in during the tournament.

Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson are included despite being sidelined by injury in recent months, but Scott Cummings, Rory Darge and Adam Hastings – who have also been battling fitness issues – have not made the squad.

Experienced pair Sean Maitland and Huw Jones have both earned recalls to the national team set-up.

Ruaridh McConnochie featured for England at the 2019 World Cup

Full 40-man Scotland squad for Six Nations

Backs: Ewan Ashman (Sale), Josh Bayliss (Bath), Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown (all Glasgow), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh), Andy Christie (Saracens), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson (all Glasgow), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Exeter), Richie Gray (Glasgow), Cameron Henderson (Leicester), WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman (all Edinburgh), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Edinburgh), Rory Sutherland (Ulster), George Turner (Glasgow), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)

Forwards: Chris Harris (Gloucester), Ben Healy (Munster), Stuart Hogg (Exeter), George Horne, Huw Jones (both Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath) Stafford McDowell, Ali Price (both Glasgow), Cameron Redpath (Bath), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Ollie Smith, Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu (all Glasgow), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh), Ben White (London Irish)

Breaking: Scotland announce 40-man squad for Six Nations

Ben Healy is one of four uncapped players included in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland’s squad for the Six Nations.

The 23-year-old Munster stand-off, who will join Edinburgh in the summer, qualifies for Scotland through his mother and will provide back-up for Finn Russell at number 10.

Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie, Glasgow centre Stafford McDowall and Leicester second-row Cameron Henderson are the other three included who are yet to feature for the national team.

Hamish Watson and Zander Fagerson are included despite being sidelined by injury in recent months, but Darcy Graham, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge and Adam Hastings – who have also been battling fitness issues – have not made the 40-man squad.

Munster fly-half Ben Healy

Louis Rees-Zammit unlikely to be fit for opening games

Louis Rees-Zammit has been selected for Wales today but he appears increasingly unlikely to be fit for their opening Six Nations games against Ireland and Scotland.

The Gloucester wing suffered an ankle injury during his team’s Gallagher Premiership defeat at Leicester on Christmas Eve. And while he is continuing to progress on the rehabilitation front, Ireland’s visit to Cardiff on February 4 looks too soon.

“He is doing all right,” Gloucester head coach George Skivington said. “I think he will be available mid-Six Nations. That is a rough guide and not set in stone, though.”

Louis Rees-Zammit faces a Six Nations fitness race (Joe Giddens/PA)

Six Nations 2023 fixtures and TV guide

Round 1

Saturday 4 February

Wales vs Ireland, 2.15pm, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (BBC & S4C)

England vs Scotland, 4.45pm, Twickenham Stadium, London (ITV)

Sunday 5 February

Italy vs France, 3pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

Round 2

Saturday 11 February

Ireland vs France, 2.15pm, Aviva Stadium, Dublin (ITV)

Scotland vs Wales, 4.45pm, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

Sunday 12 February

England vs Italy, 3pm, Twickenham Stadium, London (ITV)

Round 3

Saturday 25 February

Italy vs Ireland, 2.15pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

Wales vs England, 4.45pm, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (BBC & S4C)

Sunday 26 February

France vs Scotland, 3pm, Stade de France, Paris (ITV)

Round 4

Saturday 11 March

Italy vs Wales, 2.15pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

England vs France, 4.45pm, Twickenham, London (ITV & BBC)

Sunday 12 March

Scotland vs Ireland, 3pm, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

Round 5

Saturday 18 March

Scotland vs Italy, 12.30pm, Murrayfield, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

France vs Wales, 2.45pm, Stade de France, Paris (ITV)

Ireland vs England, 5pm, Aviva Stadium, Dublin (ITV)

A reminder of England’s squad announcement yesterday

Owen Farrell will lead England into their Six Nations opener after Steve Borthwick responded to criticism of the Saracens fly-half being cleared to play by stating he must select the best available players.

Farrell is serving a four-match ban for a dangerous challenge while on club duty against Gloucester on 6 January that will be reduced by one game if he completes a tackle course.

But in a controversial move that has been described as exploiting a loophole in the disciplinary process, the 28 January appointment with Bristol is included among the fixtures he must miss, ensuring his availability to face Scotland on 4 February.

Players involved in the opening match of the Six Nations are stood down from the final round of club games before the Championship begins, yet in this instance it counts towards Farrell’s suspension.

Steve Borthwick had no qualms about Owen Farrell selection despite ban criticism

Farrell must serve a ban for a dangerous tackle during Saracens’ match with Gloucester

Gatland appoints former Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas

Former Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas has been confirmed as the final member of Gatland’s coaching team.

Thomas, who won 67 Wales caps between 2003 and 2011, will have responsibility for the contact area. He joins fellow assistant coaches Alex King, Jonathan Humphreys, Mike Forshaw and Neil Jenkins.

Thomas said: “I am delighted and honoured to be part of the coaching team. As a passionate Welshman, my dream and ambition growing up was to play for Wales.

“Since finishing playing and going into coaching, my ambition has been to become part of the international coaching set up. Being successful and inspiring our great country is what it is all about, and I am determined to support and help make a difference to the players and staff.”

Former Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas (David Davies/PA)

Full Wales 37-man squad for Six Nations

Forwards: Rhys Carre (Cardiff), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets, capt), Bradley Roberts (Dragon), Leon Brown (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Teddy Williams (Cardiff), Taulupe Faletau (Cardiff), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).

Backs: Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Dan Biggar (Toulon), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Owen Williams (Ospreys), Mason Grady (Cardiff), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), George North (Ospreys), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Keiran Williams (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), Rio Dyer (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Cardiff).

Warren Gatland: ‘Ken Owens was oustanding in autumn series'

On the captaincy, Gatland added: “Ken is incredibly experienced and a passionate Welshman – it means a lot to him to play for Wales. He is also very popular with the players.

“He came back from injury and was absolutely outstanding during the autumn campaign. Probably, if you are picking a team at the moment, he is the No 1 in that position.”

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