Six changes for Springbok Test
Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named six personnel changes to the starting Scotland side to face South Africa in this Saturday’s Autumn Test match at BT Murrayfield (17 November, kick-off 5.20pm) – live on BT Sport and BBC.
The home side last faced the Springboks in the Pool rounds of Rugby World Cup 2015, losing 36-14 at St James’ Park in Newcastle, with the 2010 Autumn Tests the most recent home success on a day where stand-off Dan Parks kicked all of Scotland’s points to win 21-17.
The return of Glasgow Warriors centre Huw Jones is the only change to the back division, with Scotland’s pack featuring the remaining five.
London Irish prop Gordon Reid is set for his first involvement in the autumn campaign as the starting loosehead, with the remaining four those rotated or rested for last weekend’s home win over Fiji.
Vice captain Stuart McInally (hooker) and lock Jonny Gray return from the bench to start once more, while second-row Ben Toolis and back-row Hamish Watson come back into the match-day squad to start.
The final change to the pack is a positional switch for last Saturday’s man-of-the-match winning debutant, Sam Skinner, who starts in the blind-side flank position where he finished the Fiji Test, having started at lock.
Head Coach Gregor Townsend – Assistant Coach at the time of the 2010 win – said: “South Africa have made a lot of improvements over the last three or four months, beating the All Blacks in New Zealand and putting in an 80-minute performance to defeat France in Paris, which underlines their quality.
“Their traditional strength has always been their physicality and this remains a key point of difference for them. We expect them to be confrontational and powerful in their ball carrying, their defence and also at set-piece time. It will be a great challenge for our forward pack in particular.
“South Africa have always had a smart kicking game with an excellent chase but what we’ve seen over the past few months is an ambition to move the ball from counter attack and a push to get their forwards passing the ball more.
“Our defence will have to be strong to nullify this ambitious attacking game plan.
“We’re looking forward to playing one of the best teams in the world and playing once more in front of a sell-out crowd at BT Murrayfield.”
Tighthead prop Willem Nel, back-row Ryan Wilson and wing Tommy Seymour – who scored a hat-trick against Fiji – are the only three players named to start at third consecutive Test match this autumn.
Seymour joins full-back Start Hogg and wing Sean Maitland – who scored his fourth consecutive try in a BT Murrayfield Test – in the back-three, at centre Pete Horne is named alongside returning clubmate Jones, while half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell feature once more.
Scrum-half Ali Price returns to the Scotland squad for the first time since starting against Wales, on the bench.
Back-row Matt Fagerson has not recovered sufficiently from the dead leg he sustained against Fiji to feature against South Africa.
Scotland team to play South Africa at BT Murrayfield
Saturday 17 November (kick-off 5.20pm) – live on BT Sport and BBC
15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 63 caps
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 45 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 35 caps
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 38 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 64 caps
1. Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 32 caps
2. Stuart McInally VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 13 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 45 caps
6. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 1 cap
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
8. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 39 caps
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 36 caps
17. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
19. Josh Strauss (Sales Sharks) – 15 caps
20. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 5 caps