Cape Town - Fullback Stuart Hogg is the only player to be reselected in the
starting Scotland side as several experienced campaigners return for
this Saturday’s Test rematch against France at Murrayfield.
Scotland’s biggest stadium is poised for its 15th
consecutive capacity crowd before which the national team aims to bounce
back from their 32-3 defeat at the hands of Les Bleus in Nice last weekend.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Our first outing of the
season was a disappointment and not reflective of the hard work our
players have put in over the past two months.
“France are a very dangerous side if you give them space and quick
ball to play, which is what we allowed to happen on too many occasions
last week. Our focus all week has been to remedy this and also create
much more from our attacking game.
“It was a stark reminder of how tough things can be at international
level if our standards slip. We expect our players to show a much truer
picture of themselves this Saturday.”
Scotland’s starting back division is bookended by familiar partnerships
and British & Irish Lions, as Hogg is joined by Saracens and Glasgow
Warriors wings Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour for their 19th Test
start as a trio.
Continuing the thread of familiarity are Racing 92 flyhalf Finn
Russell and Clermont Auvergne scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, who captains the
The pair will equal the starting partnership appearances of fellow
Scottish Lions Gary Armstrong and Craig Chalmers (32) and will then be
three starts short of equalling the record-holding half-back partnership
of Greig’s uncle Roy Laidlaw and flyhalf John Rutherford.
At the opposite end of the international experience spectrum is
Scarlets number eight Blade Thomson, who will make his long-awaited Test
debut in a back-row featuring Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson and Glasgow
Warriors’ Ryan Wilson for the first time this campaign.
Fellow Warrior Scott Cummings is promoted from the bench position
from which he debuted last weekend, alongside Exeter Chiefs lock Sam
Skinner, and behind a new front-row trio of Gordon Reid (Ayrshire
Bulls), Willem Nel (Edinburgh) and hooker George Turner (Glasgow
Warriors), who starts his second Scotland Test.
The side is completed by a new starting midfield partnership of
Glasgow Warriors’ 41-times capped Pete Horne and Gloucester’s Chris
Harris, while Glasgow Warriors hooker Grant Stewart could make his debut
if called upon from the bench.
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Willem Nel, 2 George Turner, 1 Gordon Reid
Substitutes: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 John Barclay, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Blair Kinghorn
15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Gregory Alldritt, 6 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sebastian Vahaamahina, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Maxime Médard