Beattie omitted from Scotland squad
August 22, 2011
Beattie will sit out the 2011 Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has named his 30-man squad for the World Cup and has confirmed Al Kellock as captain while Johnnie Beattie misses out.
Coach Robinson has now laid down the challenge to the squad asking them to prove to him they are worthy of a place in the starting XV. British & Irish Lions Chris Cusiter and Euan Murray proved their fitness to make the final playing party, while Chris Paterson is set to become the first Scot to play in four World Cups following appearances in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
Scotland fly out to Australia next weekend for a further training camp before travelling on to Invercargill, where on September 10 Robinson's men will meet Romania in their first Pool B contest, with further fixtures against Georgia, Argentina and England to follow.
And following the announcement of his squad Robinson said: "I'm really pleased with the squad we have - there's really good competition for places. The guys are playing to get into the starting XV and that's what we want.
"The attention now turns to the games. I think it's very important to enjoy the occasion, to enjoy each day."
Scotland enter the tournament with a 100% record from two warm-up Tests following the 10-6 defeat of Ireland and the 23-12 win over Italy last Saturday. The 30 squad members were informed they had won a place on Sunday morning and will now continue preparations on the Gold Coast.
Robinson named a 40-man squad on May 10 and lost hooker Fergus Thomson, full-back Hugo Southwell and wing Nikki Walker to injury, the latter suffering knee ligament damage against Italy.
Glasgow Warriors No.8 Beattie, who was among the most impressive performers in the 2010 Six Nations before a shoulder problem curtailed his progress, was the victim of intense competition in the back row, with David Denton and Robert Harley also missing out.
Harley did not play a minute of either of the warm-up Tests, while prop Ryan Grant and centre Ben Cairns were also absent and joined Bath full-back Jack Cuthbert in failing to make the final selection. Edinburgh half-back Greig Laidlaw missed out after scrum-halves Cusiter and Mike Blair recovered their fitness, with Paterson able to provide cover at fly-half for Dan Parks and Ruaridh Jackson if required.
The seven players will now be placed on standby, should any injuries occur within the 30-man party.
Robinson added: "I thought the players trained really well, put real pressure on and I said to each one their time will come and I would have been very happy to have picked them. It's unfortunate I can only pick 30, but there are players that have played consistently well over the last couple of years in a Scotland jersey and that's what I've gone for."
Cusiter, Blair and Rory Lawson have all captained Scotland under Robinson, but Glasgow Warriors second-row Kellock was awarded the honour after skippering the side during last summer's successful tour to Argentina and the 2011 Six Nations tournament.
Robinson said: "I've got to name a captain. I believe we have seven players who could have been captain, with very good leadership skills. I've gone for Al because of his working relationship with myself."
Kellock therefore has gone from missing out on a place in the World Cup in 2007 to captaining Scotland in the tournament four years on. The 30-year-old, who has captained Scotland on eight occasions, said: "The last one's gone, this one it's a huge honour.
"It was a huge honour to make the squad and when Andy asked me to be captain it was definitely the peak of my career."
As if to emphasise Robinson's point, Kellock has work to do to be assured of his place in the starting line-up. Kellock began as a replacement against Ireland as Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton combined in the second-row, while Nathan Hines is also an experienced practitioner in the pack and will be vying for a start.
Kellock added: "It's by far the hardest it's been since I've been in the Scotland squad to get that starting jersey. Everybody wants that and everybody's working incredibly hard to get it."
Scotland's schedule, on paper at least, suggests the standard of opposition increases, with the Georgia came taking place on September 14, Argentina on September 25 and England on October 1.
Kellock, though, is taking a step-by-step approach. He added: "We won't be underestimating Romania and Georgia. They've shown in the last few World Cups how good they can be on their day.
"We know how tough it will be and we'll be focusing very much on the first game."
Forwards - John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Kelly Brown (Saracens), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Richie Gray, Dougie Hall (both Glasgow Warriors), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Nathan Hines (Clermont Auvergne), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (captain, Glasgow Warriors), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks)
Backs - Joe Ansbro (London Irish), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Castres), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lamont (Toulon), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh)
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