Marfo set for Scotland debut against Samoa

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 16:34
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Darryl Marfo is set to make his international debut after he was named in Scotland's starting side to play Samoa at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Edinburgh prop was one of four uncapped players in the squad coach Gregor Townsend selected for the opening match of Scotland's November campaign, with George Turner, Jamie Bhatti and Chris Harris on the bench.

Meanwhile fullback Stuart Hogg (shoulder) and lock Jonny Gray (wrist) were included after they both suffered injuries in June.

Hogg is a member of an all-Glasgow backline for what will be former Glasgow boss Townsend's first home Test in charge of Scotland.

The build-up to the match has been overshadowed by the Samoa Rugby Union revealing it is bankrupt.

But amid pleas by Samoa Rugby Union Chairman Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao, also the country's Prime Minister, for donations from the public, Townsend said he still expected the Pacific islanders to prove tough opponents on the field.

"We're looking forward to playing three very good teams this autumn [November] and Samoa will be a big challenge for us first up," said Townsend.

"Scotland-Samoa games have been tight affairs over the recent years and the recent Rugby World Cup game, which went right to the wire, is also still fresh in the memory," the former Scotland playmaker added of a 36-33 win in Newcastle, northeast England, during in 2015.

"We have approached this game – like we will for all our games this season – knowing that to achieve success we will have to play close to our very best."

John Barclay remains Scotland captain despite only returning from a head injury for the Scarlets last weekend.

Behind the pack, Ali Price starts at scrumhalf after Greig Laidlaw was sidelined with a broken leg that will keep him out of the whole November campaign.

"It's great that four players could make their international debuts this weekend," said Townsend. 

"They have earned this call through their performances for their clubs and the energy they have trained with over the past couple of weeks."

Saturday's match is the first of a November series that will also see Scotland face world champions New Zealand (November 18) and Australia (November 25) at Murrayfield.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo. 
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Cornell Du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Chris Harris.

Date: Saturday, November 11
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 04.30 Samoa Time, Sunday, November 12)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Agence France-Presse