Scotland boss Robinson closes on Rugby World Cup squad

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Interview: Scotland head coach Andy Robinson

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson says he knows 25 of the 30 players who will make up his Rugby World Cup squad.

The 14 remaining squad members will compete for the five other places for the New Zealand event in the two August warm-up Tests.

"Everyone has an opportunity and that's the great thing about the training camp," said Robinson.

"Each day you're able to see players, how they work, their consistency, but also their desire to get in the squad."

Scotland take on Ireland and Italy on 6 and 20 August respectively and must submit their final squad list for the World Cup by the 22nd of the month.

Robinson has been working with all the players except those at clubs in England and France, and has combined strength and conditioning work with skill development.

The absent players will join the training camp on 4 July.

Glasgow Warriors trio Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray and John Barclay and Edinburgh front-row duo Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen look like they will play in the opening Test after being withdrawn from competitive club rugby in the final weeks of last season.

Robinson added: "The guys who were rested after the Six Nations, I'll be looking for them to start in that game.

"Other players that haven't played for Scotland might get an opportunity to start.

"It will all come down to what's best for us looking at the preparations."

Barclay made his Scotland debut in the 2007 World Cup but Rob Harley, David Denton, Ryan Grant and Jack Cuthbert - the four uncapped players in the provisional squad - are likely to earn their first caps in August if they are in contention for the squad.

"They're doing well, they've got some cracking characters," said Robinson of the uncapped players.

"David Denton and Rob Harley have worked well together, but also they've got different attributes and it's great to see the desire that they have to get in the squad."

Scotland will hold a training camp in Australia before their opening World Cup Pool B match with Romania on 10 September in Invercargill.

Four days later Scotland play their second match against Georgia before the game against Argentina on 25 September and the final group match against England, in Auckland on 1 October.

Robinson knows his side are capable of winning the group but also slipping up.

He added: "All the games are going to be challenging. We've got to focus on that first challenge, plus playing Georgia after that.

"The way the fixture schedule has worked out we've got two close games, then we've got a 10-day window to do some training in Wellington before we play against Argentina."

Meanwhile, Robinson praised the work of Gordon McKie, who earlier this month resigned as Scottish Rugby's chief executive.

He said: "I want to thank him for the opportunity he afforded me, firstly with Edinburgh and also to become the Scotland head coach.

"He leaves the union in a really good place, because he's put the building blocks in place for Scottish rugby to grow and he should be thanked for that."

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