Rugby

Ally Miller earns first Scotland call-up ahead of Six Nations finale in Dublin

The 27-year-old has been rewarded by Gregor Townsend for his excellent form under Franco Smith this term.

Ally Miller has been given his first Scotland call-up at 27
Ally Miller Ally Miller has been given his first Scotland call-up at 27 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Glasgow back-rower Ally Miller has been given his first Scotland call-up ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations showdown with Ireland.

The 27-year-old, who initially struggled to establish himself with the Warriors after arriving at Scotstoun from Edinburgh in 2021, has been rewarded by Gregor Townsend for his excellent form under Franco Smith this term.

Miller joins up with the squad as fellow back-rower Hamish Watson drops out along with prop Jamie Bhatti and second-rower Glen Young. None of the forward trio were involved on Saturday as the Scots crashed to a damaging 31-29 defeat away to Italy.

An update released by Scottish Rugby on Monday afternoon also revealed that 21-year-old Glasgow second-rowers Alex Samuel and Max Williamson are training with the squad.

Their more experienced Warriors second-row colleague Scott Cummings, meanwhile, is adamant that Scotland will have no Rome hangover as they prepare for their championship-concluding match away to Ireland.

Had the Scots won in Italy at the weekend, they would be heading to Dublin this weekend for a title shootout with their hosts.

Instead, the visit to the Irish capital has become an exercise in saving face for Townsend’s under-pressure team.

Scotland suffered a dire defeat in Italy on Saturday
Scotland Scotland suffered a dire defeat in Italy on Saturday (Adam Davy/PA)

If Scotland – currently third in the table – lose on Saturday, they will end the tournament with just two wins from five and could feasibly finish fifth if Italy defeat Wales this weekend.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Cummings. “To get a win out there we’re going to have to have a 10 out of 10 performance.

“Ireland are one of the best teams in the world and we’ve got to go to Dublin, and try and put a performance in.

“We need to change one or two things (from Italy) and make sure we finish this campaign the way we want to and represent the country how we want to with the final performance.”

Scotland have lost their last nine meetings with Ireland
Scotland Scotland have lost their last nine meetings with Ireland (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Scotland have not won in Dublin since 2010 and have lost each of their last nine meetings with Ireland, including a chastening 36-14 World Cup pool-stage defeat in Paris just five months ago.

Asked how easily it would be for the Scots to rouse themselves for such a formidable match just a week after one of their worst results of Townsend’s near-seven-year reign, Cummings said: “Quite easily, to be honest. In the big games the mentality takes care of itself.

“We remember that last game at the World Cup when we didn’t show up how we wanted to show up and that still lives in our memories.

“There’s going to be no shortage of motivation after Saturday’s game and the last time we played Ireland so we’re excited for it.

“It’s obviously going to be a tough challenge but one we’re ready to take on.”