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Kerr rewarded with Scotland call

Jake Kerr has been called into the Scotland squad for the first time ahead of the Guinness Six Nations.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend includes Leicester Tigers hooker Kerr among seven uncapped players in a 39-man Scotland squad.

Kerr is one of three uncapped hookers in the squad, alongside David Cherry (Edinburgh) and Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) with injuries ruling out Fraser Brown and George Turner.

A former Scotland Under-20s cap, Kerr joined Tigers after spells with Edinburgh and Loughborough Students, and has made 13 appearances for Geordan Murphy’s team this season.

Scotland finished last year’s Championship in third place and coach Townsend is keen to see continued improvements.

He said: “In the past 18 months we’ve played 18 Test matches and have introduced 18 new players to Test-level rugby. Once again, our squad features players aiming to take that step, which is a testimony to their performances this season and the growing strength in depth of Scottish rugby.

Scotland open the campaign against Italy at BT Murrayfield on February 2.

Scotland squad

Forwards (22) 
Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
David Cherry (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – uncapped
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
John Hardie (Newcastle Falcons) – 16 caps
Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 3 caps
Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 17 caps
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps

Backs (17)
Chris Dean (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 6 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 65 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 66 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 37 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 40 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps