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Scotland select Aussie duo and English winger in Six Nations squad as new eligibility rules come into effect

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17th January, 2023
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Former Wallabies back-rower Jack Dempsey has been selected in his first Six Nations squad for Scotland while his fellow Australian forward Sione Tuipulotu has also been called up by Gregor Townsend.

After Dempsey converted from Australia to Scotland last October, the Scots have again taken advantage of World Rugby’s new eligibility rules by selecting Ruaridh McConnochie, who is set to become the first player in the modern era to represent England and Scotland.

Glasgow Warriors pair Dempsey and Tuipulotu – who won under-20 recognition for Australia – have become part of the furniture in the Scots’ pack since they both took advantage of their Scottish heritage to thrust their way into the team.

Jack Dempsey of Australia is tackled during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group D game between Australia and Georgia at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on October 11, 2019 in Fukuroi, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Jack Dempsey of Australia is tackled during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Under the rule that allows players to switch international allegiance following a three-year cooling off period between caps, 31-year-old Bath winger McConnochie has become eligible after making two appearances for England – including one at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

After failing to establish himself in the England squad, he now has a second chance at international level with the nation of his father’s birth.

McConnochie’s debut for Scotland could come against England, with the two old rivals meeting in the first round of Six Nations matches on February 4.


The regulation had already allowed former Waratahs flanker Dempsey, who last played for the Wallabies in 2019, to make the first of his four appearance for the Scots late last year.

Five-eighth Ben Healy was also called up on Tuesday, having previously represented Ireland at under-20 level. He qualifies for Scotland through his grandparents.

Townsend acknowledged this could be his last Six Nations as Scotland head coach, saying he has had no talks about extending his contract beyond the end of this year.