Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Friday, 7 December Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
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Gary Graham was “used as a bit of a guinea pig” by England head coach , says his former Falcons team-mate Ally Hogg.

Jones selected Graham, who will face Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday, in squads last season but did not cap him.

After English interest cooled, Graham was called up in November by Gregor Townsend, who said the 26-year-old “wanted to commit” to Scotland.

was trying make a point a little bit,” Hogg told BBC Scotland.

“He used him as a bit of a guinea pig, which wasn’t fair on Gary. He’d only played a few games for when he was called up.”

Graham, 26, is the son of former and Scotland prop George Graham but qualified for England through residency.

Scottish has intensified its search for talent south of the border and former Scotland back-row Hogg, who retired last season, suspects Jones aimed to “ruffle a few feathers” with Graham’s inclusion.

“Knowing what is like, it was probably more of a warning shot to Gregor that he’s taken a few English players and he might do vice versa,” he added.

Hardie capture ‘a big coup’ for Falcons’

Hogg revealed John Hardie has impressed Falcons players after joining the club in October, although he is not registered for the trip to former club Edinburgh in Friday’s an Champions Cup match.

The Scotland flanker was released in the summer having served a three-month suspension for “gross misconduct” over alleged cocaine use earlier in the season.

“If he didn’t have his misdemeanours, he’d probably still be at Edinburgh. It’s a big coup for . And I imagine he would have gone quite cheaply as well because he didn’t really have another club,” Hogg added.

“He’s come in and put his head down. He’s got a point to prove, not only to the team but to himself and to the wider public that he is a good player and still has a lot to offer.”

John Hardie of Newcastle Falcons makes a tackle

‘You’re picking guys that have never been to Scotland’

Hogg, 35, split his 16-year professional career between Edinburgh and , retiring after helping the Falcons to the Premiership semi-finals at the end of last term.

He won the last of his 47 caps in 2009 and believes he was overlooked by successive Scotland coaches in part because of a bias towards overseas players.

New Zealand-born Blair Cowan, Hugh Blake and Hardie, Wales-born Kieran Low and South African Tyrone Holmes all played Tests during his international exile.

“I was Andy Robinson’s captain for two years at Edinburgh. He got the Scotland job and my face didn’t fit his philosophy. You look at it and you think, ‘you’re picking a couple of guys that have never been to Scotland – what have they got over me?'” Hogg said.

“That was the downfall of Scottish a little bit in the past. Foreign guys were deemed to be better than what we had.

“We’ve got a lot of talent and to be fair to Gregor, he’s been rewarding those guys, and others like Sam Skinner who has played really well for Exeter Chiefs. It’s always more frustrating when it happens to you but you do get a bit miffed when you’re not getting picked and guys are getting parachuted in.”

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