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Finn Russell straight back in at 10 as Scotland name team for NZ

By Ian Cameron
Scotlands Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Ali Price during a Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland at the Stadio Olimpico, on March 12, 2022, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Finn Russell will start for Scotland at flyhalf against the All Blacks despite being initially omitted from Gregor Townsend’s original Autumn Nation Series squad.

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Russell was recalled to the squad following an injury to Adam Hastings against Fiji and has been thrown back in at the depend by head coach Townsend. The Racing 92 man is preferred to Blair Kinghorn, who has to make do with a place on the bench.

Scotland are bidding to topple the All Blacks for the first time in their history.

Russell is joined by hooker Fraser Brown and centre Sione Tuipulotu, who also come into the starting XV. The team features seven Scotland players who were involved in a narrow home loss to the All Blacks back in 2017, the last time the two sides played.

The back three from last weekend’s 28-12 win over Fiji are retained with Stuart Hogg at 15 and Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe on the wings respectively.

British & Irish Lions centre Chris Harris is chosen in the centre, while the pack boasts a tonne of experience in the likes of Richie Gray, captain Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Zander and Matt Fagerson and Grant Gilchrist.

Rory Sutherland is named on the bench, as is South African-born tighthead prop WP Nel. Nel will win his 50th cap for Scotland if he gets the call to come on. There’s also plenty of other fire power to draw on, with Jonny Gray and Jack Dempsey also ready to be sprung into the battle.

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SCOTLAND TEAM VS NEW ZEALAND:
15. Stuart Hogg
14. Darcy Graham
13. Chris Harris
12. Sione Tuipulotu
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Finn Russell
9. Ali Price
1. Pierre Schoeman
2. Fraser Brown
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Richie Gray
5. Grant Gilchrist
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. Hamish Watson
8. Matt Fagerson

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Ewan Ashman
17. Rory Sutherland
18. WP Nel
19. Jonny Gray
20. Jack Dempsey
21. Ben White
22. Blair Kinghorn
23. Mark Bennett

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