McInally to lead Scotland in Summer Test opener
Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named the Scotland team to face France in the opening Summer Test match at the Allianz Riviera in Nice this Saturday (kick-off 9pm local time, 8pm BST) – live on Premier Sports.
The match will be the first of four Test matches for the national team in the coming weeks – Scotland host France in the return fixture next Saturday at BT Murrayfield, before away and home Tests against Georgia – all of which are designed to refine the selection decisions of Head Coach Gregor Townsend, who will name his final squad for Rugby World Cup 2019 next month.
Townsend said: “A huge amount of work has gone in throughout the past two months in order to deliver our best level of performance in the Rugby World Cup.
“These four Tests are a vital part of that process in terms of testing our systems and combinations but also in seeing which players put their best foot forward when it comes to selection for the final 31-man group going to Japan next month.”
Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally returns as captain having led the side to the dramatic retention of the Calcutta Cup in the Guinness Six Nations finale earlier this year and takes to the field in a near all-Edinburgh pack.
He partners tighthead prop Simon Berghan and the club’s new signing Jamie Bhatti in the front-row, with Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis returning to start in the second-row as they did at Twickenham.
John Barclay (vice-captain) and Jamie Ritchie complete the capital club’s contribution in the back-row with Blue Bulls number 8 Josh Strauss starting at the tail of the pack.
Glasgow Warriors stand-off Adam Hastings is handed his first start since the 2018 Autumn Test victory over Argentina, alongside clubmate and scrum-half Ali Price, while a new-look centre partnership of Duncan Taylor (Saracens) and Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) mans the midfield for the first time.
Full-back and vice-captain Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) anchors the back-three with fellow Hawick man Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) and Sale Sharks Byron McGuigan on the wing to complete the starting side.
There are notable inclusions in the match day squad for Glasgow Warriors lock Scott Cummings and Northampton Saints midfielder Rory Hutchinson, who will make their Test debut if called upon from the bench in Nice this Saturday.
Townsend added: “As a coaching group we’re pleased to be able to take a strong squad across to France for this opening Test.
“We’ve enjoyed seeing the players working hard and becoming closer as a team in our camp.
“We’ve been impressed by the quality of play they’ve delivered in training but fundamentally it’s been about preparing to play.
"We’re now very much looking forward to seeing our men perform in these Test matches.”
Tickets are still available for Scotland v France (Saturday 24 August, kick-off 1.10pm) in Bronze and Silver areas, starting at £20 (adults) and £10 (U18s) and a “Kids for £1” offer for U12s (per paying adult, for a limited time). Seats are more limited in the Gold and Platinum areas.
There is availability in all sections for Scotland v Georgia (Friday 6 September, kick-off 7.30pm) starting at £15 (adults) £5 (U18s) and the a “Kids for £1” offer for U12s (per paying adult, in Bronze and Silver categories only for a limited time).
Scotland team to play France at the Allianz Riviera, Summer Test
Saturday 17 August (kick-off 8pm BST, 9pm local time) – live on Premier Sports
15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) - 67 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) - 4 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) - 21 caps
12. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) - 21 caps
11. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) - 8 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) - 11 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) - 24 caps
1. Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) - 13 caps
2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) - 27 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) - 19 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) - 18 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) - 33 caps
6. John Barclay VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) - 71 caps
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) - 10 caps
8. Josh Strauss (Blue Bulls) - 22 caps
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) - 5 caps
17. Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) - 34 caps
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) - 19 caps
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
20. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) - 3 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) - 4 caps
22. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) - uncapped
23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) - 11 caps