SIX uncapped players will be given the chance to further their claims for involvement in next year’s World Cup on Scotland’s summer tour under a new captain as another seven who are all but certain to make that trip are rested with that goal in mind.

The newcomers given their chances are Glasgow Warriors half-backs George Horne and Adam Hastings and their clubmate Matt Fagerson, his fellow forwards Jamie Ritchie and Lewis Carmichael from Edinburgh and a lone Exile in James Lang, who had done little to register on Scottish consciousness prior to selection.

With just a few minutes of international experience to his name, as a late replacement in the Six Nations opener in Cardiff, Murray McCallum meanwhile gets the chance to show his versatility with head coach Gregor Townsend explaining that he is preferred to Edinburgh clubmate Darryl Marfo partly because of his capacity to play on both sides, but also because the older player has been out of action for much of the season, a category which also captures another Edinburgh front-row forward Ross Ford, Scotland’s most capped player.

Stuart “Rambo” McInally’s outstanding form in filling the void left by Ford for both Edinburgh and Scotland across the season, is rewarded with the captaincy of the tour party as current Scotland captain John Barclay, his immediate predecessor Greig Laidlaw, Glasgow Warriors quartet Jonny Gray, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson and their former clubmate Gordon Reid, are all left behind to ready themselves for the challenges ahead albeit, according to head coach Townsend, some had to be protected from their own enthusiasm.

“We’ve got a World Cup less than 500 days away now,” he pointed out. “The experience of being together for four weeks will be really beneficial, to see how players get on with each other, see who is the player working hardest on his game, who is the player providing the energy off the field.”

He admitted that some of those being left behind had sought to change his mind and that he had had to resist being overly suggestible.

“There were a couple of meetings last week where my mind was changed but I changed it back again,” said Townsend. “It’s good to see guys want to go on tour and sometimes you’re making a decision for the longer term. We’ve seen the benefits of players having that extra time in pre-season. You might not see it totally until the next Six Nations or the World Cup, but we do believe it’s the best thing for some. Some of them could see it coming, they’ve had long seasons and they have a chance to recharge and get in the best condition for next season.

“Sometimes you have to look at the long-term benefits for players. They probably don’t see that when they see three Tests in three great countries, two of them in the northern hemisphere which you don’t get often on summer tours. The whole concept of touring and enjoyment of that. For some an extra few weeks of pre-season and three fewer games should give them help for a massive season and a bit next season.”

While all three matches are official Tests, the tour will effectively be split into two, with the emphasis very much on development in North America, where they take on the USA and Canada. The plan is for five members of the party to then head home before they drop below the equator for the final leg of what Argentina’s Pumas will doubtless see as a chance to demonstrate the falseness of the current official world rankings which show them, as 2015 World Cup semi-finalists, four sports below fifth-placed Scotland.

While that has traditionally been affected by the Pumas’ focus on home-based players between World Cups, the most recent evidence is that even without their European-based players they will provide stiffer opposition on home soil than for many years, their Super Rugby franchise the Jaguars having recently completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand that saw them beat the Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies, Auckland Blues and Waikato Chiefs on successive weekends.

That is where the remaining senior members of the squad will come into their own, with Townsend describing it as a bonus that leaving Barclay and Laidlaw behind gives them a chance to see others take on leadership roles.

In similar vein, Russell’s absence provides several others with a chance to impress over the French-bound play-maker who is the latest Scottish fly-half to split opinions between advocates, who are inclined to describe him as mercurial and sceptics who prefer the word erratic.

“Finn is not one of our older players so it was a decision partly based on the challenges he’ll have going to France and he’s just had a long season, but it’s more on what we want to see from the other guys,” said Townsend. “We’ve got a number who can play stand-off. Adam Hastings has played there more regularly than anyone else but you’ve got Pete Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, James Lang, even Blair Kinghorn and Stuart Hogg can cover there. We have a couple of players in mind who we think can play there on tour.”

An extension of that is the responsibility for goal-kicking, with Townsend adding that: “Sam [Hidalgo-Clyne] has been kicking very well for Edinburgh, Blair [Kinghorn] is an excellent kicker, Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson, Adam Hastings, James Lang… they will have plenty of time to practise.”

The trip is also an important opportunity for another newcomer to the group as Carl Hogg gets the chance to show what he has learned in his many years working in the English Premiership when sharing the duties of looking after the pack, but Townsend continued to insist that current forwards coach Dan McFarland would continue to be involved for the remainder of this year and would not join Ulster, to whom he has been appointed head coach, until next January.

Earlier this week Townsend’s former international half-back partner Bryan Redpath, who is now head coach of Scotland Under-20s and Hogg as his forwards coach when he was the boss at Gloucester, said on the basis of his experience that the sharing of responsibilities in that way had the potential to be awkward, but the man in charge dismissed that, saying: “We see it working well but we have to look ahead and at who will replace Dan when he does go to Ulster. The plan is nine months which is January 21 before the Six Nations and we have to have someone in before then.”

The full squad is: forwards - Simon Berghan, Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Allan Dell, Grant Gilchrist, Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally capt, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Toolis (all Edinburgh); Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson and George Turner (all Glasgow Warriors); Dave Denton (Worcester Warriors), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Luke Hamilton (Leicester Tigers); backs - Nick Grigg, Adam Hastings, Alex Dunbar, Stuart Hogg, George Horne, Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Ali Price (all Glasgow Warriors); Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Blair Kinghorn (both Edinburgh), James Lang (Harlequins), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Duncan Taylor (Saracens)