Scotland change four for Tonga

2014-11-20 15:30
Vern Cotter (File)

London - Scotland coach Vern Cotter has made four injury-induced changes to his side when he announced his team on Thursday to play Tonga in Kilmarnock on Saturday.

In the backs, 90-cap Glasgow Warrior Sean Lamont, who came on in the 13th minute of last week's 24-16 defeat by world champions New Zealand at Murrayfield, retained his place while fit-again wing Tim Visser was given a start in place of the injured Sean Maitland (hamstring).

Up front, tighthead prop Geoff Cross and No 8 Johnnie Beattie replaced Euan Murray and Adam Ashe, who miss out through thigh and neck injuries respectively.

Saturday's match, which takes place at the Rugby Park home ground of Scottish Premiership football club Kilmarnock, will be the first major international rugby union Test to be played on a purely synthetic pitch.

Cotter, whose first two home Tests in charge of Scotland, have seen the side show promise in a five-try win over Argentina and narrow loss to New Zealand, said: "We came very close to the best side in the world last Saturday, which left us very disappointed but, when you look at the content of our performance and what the players did on the paddock, it'd be hard for any coach to be too unhappy.

"The work rate, desire and determination of the squad on the field was excellent," the New Zealander added.

"There were a lot of good things in the game and a lot things we've looked to improve. That's the nature of this squad, they're a young group that wants to move forward.

"They were naturally disappointed not to build on a good performance against Argentina, but were quick to put that behind them in training this week, and look forward to putting the jersey on again to face Tonga at Rugby Park."

Tonga famously beat Scotland 21-15 in Aberdeen in 2012 and Cotter said: "The Pacific Islanders pride themselves on their physicality, power and pace, all of which combined to hurt Scotland at Pittodrie two years ago.

"We will have to be on top of our game and continue our trajectory of improvements if we are to secure the win this Saturday."



15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Duncan Taylor



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