Scotland to unleash SA-born stars against Georgia
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scotland’s opening game of their end-of-year campaign will mark a series of firsts as head coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at Murrayfield on Friday.
Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown will captain his country for the first time, winning his 51st cap, while SA-born wing Duhan van der Merwe starts and will make his debut for Scotland.
Another South African-born player, prop Oliver Kebble, is set to make his debut off the bench
Townsend has also named scrumhalf, Ali Price and loose forward, Jamie Ritchie as vice-captains.
The team features some returning faces with Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson making his first start since facing the Georgian’s at home in Tblisi in August 2019 and Harlequins’ James Lang lining up at inside centre to win his third cap, having last featured in the 2018 June tour, playing against Canada and Argentina.
Captain Brown packs down in the front row with Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, with Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings pairing at lock.
Matt Fagerson starts at No.8 with Edinburgh loose forwards Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson on the flanks.
Glasgow Warriors provide the halfback pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings who partnered during the 2020 Six Nations, with Racing 92 flyhalf Finn Russell poised to win his 50th Scotland cap as a replacement, following his Champions Cup Final appearance last Saturday.
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT 🏴
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 21, 2020
James Lang lines up alongside Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the centres and the starting XV is completed with an all Edinburgh back three of Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe on the wings and Blair Kinghorn at fullback.
“As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.
“It is a testament to the professionalism and hard work Fraser has given to Scotland in recent years that we have selected him as the captain and he will be well supported by Jamie and Ali, who have grown as leaders over the past couple of seasons.
“Georgia have a new coaching group in place and will want to put down a marker for their own campaign so we have picked as strong a squad as possible to go up against what will be a very physical and motivated opponent.”
Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown (captain), 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Cornell du Preez, 22 George Horne, 23 Finn Russell.
Date: Friday, October 23
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 19.30 (18.30 GMT; 22.30 GET)
Referee: Alex Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Marius Mitrea (Italy)