White retains role for Six Nations campaign

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The Independent Online

The Scotland coach, Frank Hadden, has confirmed the back-row forward Jason White as captain for the forthcoming 2008 Six Nations Championship.

White, who first took on the role in the 2005 autumn Tests, missed last year's Six Nations through injury but recovered to lead Scotland at the World Cup last autumn.

Hadden, who named a 35-man squad which will begin training next week, told the Scottish Rugby website that White's position was never in doubt.

He said: "Jason is a key figure for us. He sets the tone as a leader both on and off the field and I look forward to working with him again during this season's championship."

The Scotland coach was keen to highlight the strength in depth available to him this year. Twenty-two of the squad are home based, among them six uncapped players Edinburgh backs Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca and Calum MacRae, Glasgow wing Thom Evans and prop Moray Low and Edinburgh back-row forward Ross Rennie.

Cairns, 22, a product of the Scotland age group set-up and Scotland Sevens, is listed in the senior Scotland squad for the first time, while wing Simon Danielli returns after missing the World Cup through injury.

Hadden said: "A number of players have maintained their good form from the World Cup but they are going to be pushed extremely hard by some of our young, up and coming talent in the next few weeks."

Omitted are lock Scott Murray, prop Craig Smith and hooker Scott Lawson. Hadden insists there will still be opportunities for them, and other contenders outside the training squad, to push for places.

However, one player who has ruled himself out is Centre Marcus Di Rollo, who is committed to making himself available exclusively for his French club, Toulouse, during this season's championship while hoping to compete for his Scotland place again in the future. "After a period of injury and transition from Scotland to France," Di Rollo said, "I felt it would be beneficial for my game to take some time to settle into my new club."

Scotland's training squad

Scotland training squad for Six Nations Championship:

Backs: M Blair, B Cairns (both Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Perpignan), S Danielli (Ulster), N De Luca (Edinburgh), T Evans (Glasgow), P Godman (Edinburgh), R Lamont (Sale Sharks), R Lawson (Gloucester), C MacRae (Edinburgh), G Morrison, D Parks (both Glasgow), C Paterson (Gloucester), H Southwell (Edinburgh), N Walker (Ospreys), S Webster (Edinburgh).

Forwards: J Barclay, J Beattie, K Brown (all Glasgow), D Callam (Edinburgh), A Dickinson (Gloucester), R Ford (Edinburgh), J Hamilton (Leicester), N Hines (Perpignan), A Hogg, A Jacobsen (both Edinburgh), A Kellock (Glasgow), G Kerr (Edinburgh), M Low (Glasgow), S MacLeod (Llanelli), Euan Murray (Northampton), R Rennie (Edinburgh), A Strokosch (Gloucester), F Thomson (Glasgow), J White (Sale, capt).

Injured but invited: A Henderson (Glasgow); S Taylor (Stade Franais); R Dewey (Ulster).