Six Nations 2018: Scotland add six players to squad for England match

WP Nel
WP Nel could feature for Scotland on Saturday
Six Nations 2018: Scotland v England
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland. Live text commentary and report on the BBC website and app

Scotland have called six players into their squad before Saturday's Six Nations match against England.

Harlequins wing Tim Visser and Gloucester centre Matt Scott will provide backline options with Lee Jones and Duncan Taylor missing.

James Malcolm, WP Nel, Tim Swinson and Josh Strauss are added to the squad.

Richie Gray has failed to shake off a calf injury and Magnus Bradbury, Nathan Fowles, Murray McCallum and D'Arcy Rae all drop out of the squad.

Uncapped Glasgow Warriors hooker Malcolm, 23, has represented Scotland at youth level.

Tight-head props Nel and Zander Fagerson had returned to training last week after Scotland beat France in Edinburgh last Sunday.

Both missed that game and the championship opening defeat away to Wales.

"It is a huge boost to have those experienced players in similar positions," head coach Gregor Townsend said on Friday.

"[WP Nel] trained with us on Wednesday, we're just having a look," Townsend explained.

"I think when he played against Italy in the summer, he'd had one game in a similar period - three, four months out - and he did pretty well in that game against Italy.

Zander Fagerson
Zander Fagerson (far right) featured in last year's narrow defeat by the All Blacks

"The positive thing is that he has been passed medically. He is training very hard. He had an upper limb injury - a broken arm - so he has been able to keep his fitness up so we'll just see how he is in the next two, three days with us.

"Zander came in largely because Glasgow were away playing and so are Edinburgh. We'll see how they get on this week and potentially next week we'll be able to make a call on when they are available or it might be after the England game.

"Obviously this is Zander's first session with us. He only resumed training this week. WP has been training for a couple of weeks now but we need to get a good look at them and see how they react but it will be next week that we will have a clearer picture."

Tight-head Simon Berghan returned from suspension in time to face the French but hookers Ross Ford and Fraser Brown and loose-head trio Darryl Marfo, Allan Dell and Al Dickinson have all been injured at the start of the tournament.

"[Fraser Brown] has got good news so we hope he'll resume training next week with [Glasgow]," added Townsend. "He should be back available to play pretty soon.

"We had three tight-heads missing going into Wales. It dropped down to two with Simon coming back and he played really well. Jon [Welsh] had that experience of playing down in Wales.

"Getting one of Zander of WP back in the next couple of weeks would be a boost."