Back-row forwards John Barclay and Blair Cowan were the two most high-profile omissions when Scotland coach Vern Cotter named his 31-man squad for this month’s World Cup on Tuesday.

But fellow back-row John Hardie — who only arrived in Scotland five weeks ago from New Zealand and has played just 57 minutes of international rugby after making his debut in Turin this month — was included by Kiwi coach Cotter.

Cowan’s absence was a particular surprise as the New Zealand-born forward, who plays his club rugby for London Irish, started all five of Scotland’s Six Nations matches this season.

Barclay, meanwhile ended a near two-year spell in the international wilderness when he was recalled for this month’s wwarm-up matches with Ireland and Italy.

But despite scoring in 48-7 rout of Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday, the Scarlets openside flanker has also been left out of the 31-man squad who will cross the border into England for the World Cup.

Gloucester scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will continue to captain the side.




Full-back: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow)

Wings: Sean Lamont (Glasgow), Sean Maitland (London Irish/ENG), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow), Tim Visser (Harlequins/ENG) 

Centres: Mark Bennett (Glasgow), Peter Horne (Glasgow), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Richie Vernon (Glasgow)

Fly-halves: Finn Russell (Glasgow), Duncan Weir (Glasgow) 

Scrum-halves: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh); Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester/ENG, capt), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow) 



Back-rows: David Denton (Edinburgh), John Hardie (Unattached), Josh Strauss (Glasgow), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan/FRA), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow) 

Locks: Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Castres/FRA), Tim Swinson (Glasgow)

Hookers: Fraser Brown (Glasgow), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) 

Props: Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh), Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Gordon Reid (Glasgow), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Jon Welsh (Newcastle/ENG) – Agence France-Presse

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