Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Scotland have named New Zealand-born Blade Thomson, Australian Sam Johnson and former England youth international Sam Skinner in a 40-man squad for the upcoming autumn internationals as they cast an eye towards 2019’s World Cup.

There are just three new caps in an expansive squad named by coach Gregor Townsend.

Scarlets backrow Thomson, who played for New Zealand at under-20 level, and Exeter Chiefs lock Skinner are eligible through family connections.

Johnson, a Glasgow centre and former Australian schoolboy international who played Super Rugby with the Reds before moving to Scotland, qualifies on residency grounds.

All three are in line to make their debuts in one of the November Tests against Wales, Fiji, SA or Argentina.

"We now begin our preparations for the World Cup with four Tests in four weeks, a similar challenge to the one we’ll face in Japan," Townsend said.

Scotland face Wales in Cardiff on November 3 and then play at their Murrayfield home against Fiji on November 10, SA a week later and Argentina on November 24. Reuters