Saints centre Hutchinson named in Scotland's World Cup training squad
Saints centre Rory Hutchinson has been handed a call-up to Scotland's World Cup training squad.
It is reward for a fine start to 2019 for the talented 23-year-old, who was named Gallagher Premiership play of the month for February and who has been nominated for the Rugby Players' Association (RPA) young player of the year award.
Scotland boss Gregor Townsend was spotted at Franklin's Gardens as Hutchinson again impressed in a win against Worcester Warriors last Saturday.
And the Saints star will now be part of a 45-man group who will assemble in mid-June ahead of the World Cup in Japan.
Hutchinson played in both the 2014 and 2015 World Rugby Under-20s Championships and Six Nations competitions to become the joint most-capped Scotland Under-20s player ever.
The midfielder is one of only two uncapped players in Townsend's World Cup training squad and he will be hoping to earn his first senior international cap in warm-up matches against France and Georgia.
Townsend said: “Our goal is to deliver our best rugby on September 22 (when Scotland face Ireland in the opening Pool round) and throughout the following few weeks, so there will be a big conditioning element driving us towards that.
“We’ve got to be ready to play with energy, huge effort and be fitter than every team we come up against. That will enable us to attack and defend at a high level and put pressure on the opposition.
“We look forward to building closer relationships with each other and improving as a squad during our training camps, while this opportunity to be together for longer means we can add a couple of things to our game to help us get closer to reaching our potential.”
Meanwhile, four Saints youngsters have been named in the England squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships this summer.
Centre Fraser Dingwall, lock Alex Coles, wing Ollie Sleightholme and hooker Samson Ma'asi have all been selected in the 28-man England group for the tournament in Argentina.
The Championship takes place from June 4 to June 22, with the cities of Rosario and Santa Fe playing host to 30 matches played over five match-days across three venues.
All four of the young Saints were involved in this season's U20 Six Nations Championship for the Red Rose, with Dingwall also appearing in the World Championship last summer where England were beaten in the final by France.
Pool B sees 2018 runners-up England face Ireland (June 4), Italy (June 8) and Australia (June 12), having last lifted the trophy in 2016.