Gregor Townsend has dangled a carrot in front of the players omitted from his 42-man world cup training squad.

The squad features 23 forwards and 19 backs, among them 14 players involved in the 2015 competition. He will trim the group to 31 ahead of the competition.

Townsend has left two vacancies, one for a forward and one for a back. Those spots will go to individuals still involved with their clubs.

The forward could be Richie Gray, who is performing well with Toulouse after a lengthy injury—enforced absence. The club currently leads the Top 14 in France.

Meanwhile, Kyle Steyn is involved with Guinness PRO14 semi finalists Glasgow Warriors.

There appears to be no place on the plane to Japan for in-form Worcester Warriors man Duncan Weir.

The most experienced of the squad is John Barclay who is set for his third world cup. There are three uncapped players in Northampton Saints centre Rory Hutchinson, Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) and Blade Thomson (Scarlets).

Glasgow provide 17 players and Edinburgh 13, while the remainder ply their trade in France, England and Wales.

“Today’s selection is a good indication of the depth and level of competition we currently have in Scotland”, said Townsend.

The build up will take place mainly in Edinburgh, with a warm weather camp in Portugal. The preparations will include test matches against Georgia and France.

Scotland will kick off their campaign against Ireland on September 22

“We’ve got to be ready to play with energy, huge effort and be fitter than every team we come up against”, added Townsend.

Written by Colin Renton