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Townsend reveals his Scotland hand for Bok clash

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Mercurial flyhalf Finn Russell will pull the strings for Scotland when they take on South Africa in Marseille on Sunday after coach Gregor Townsend named the squad for what is a crucial World Cup clash.

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The Scots, ranked fifth in the world, are in Pool B alongside not only the second-ranked Springboks but also Ireland, the world’s No.1 team, a Tonga side boasting a number of former New Zealand and Australia players, and Romania.

With only two sides progressing to the knock-out phase of the tournament in France, every game will be crucial.

Townsend named Russell, in his third World Cup, alongside Ben White for a halfback pairing, with centres Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones continuing their partnership in midfield.

Prolific wings Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham are joined in the back three by fullback Blair Kinghorn.

Jamie Ritchie captains the team from blindside flank and is joined in the back row by openside Rory Darge and Jack Dempsey at No 8.

Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, both of whom will be appearing at a third World Cup, combine at lock forward, while George Turner gets the nod at hooker, packing down with Pierre Schoeman (loosehead) and Zander Fagerson (tighthead).

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Townsend plumped for a five-three split on the bench, opting for forwards Dave Cherry (hooker), Jamie Bhatti and WP Nel (props), Scott Cummings (lock) and Matt Fagerson (back row).

Scrumhalf Ali Price, centre Cameron Redpath and fullback Ollie Smith complete the 23-strong matchday squad.

Meanwhile, Stuart McInally has travelled out to France as injury cover for Ewan Ashman, who is recovering from an injury picked up in training this week which ruled him out of the match against South Africa.

McInally has not joined the 33-player squad.

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Scotland: Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Cameron Redpath, 23 Ollie Smith.

Date: Sunday, September 10
Venue: Stade de Marseille, Marseille
Kick-off: 17.45 (15.45 GMT; 16.45 UK & Ireland time; 17.45 SA time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia) and Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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