Finn Russell is set to make his first Scotland appearance since the World Cup when Gregor Townsend’s team take on Georgia at Murrayfield on Friday night.
The Racing 92 maverick did not feature at all during this year’s Guinness Six Nations before it was put on hold by the coronavirus crisis after breaching team discipline with a late-night drinking session ahead of their opener with Ireland.
He later gave a newspaper interview in which he detailed the breakdown in his relationship with head coach Townsend but the pair have patched up their differences and Russell will start this week’s Test clash with the Lelos on the bench.
Newly-qualified Edinburgh stand-off Duhan van der Merwe will make his Test debut, while Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown will captain his country for the first time as he wins his 51st cap.
Warriors prop Oli Kebble could also win his first cap if he is called off the bench – while Russell will collect his 50th when he enters the fray.
The most heartwarming picture of last weekend explained ?? https://t.co/36pvvbqxYQ
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 20, 2020
Townsend said: “It’s been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches, we’ve really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19. “As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first-up match.
“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.”
He added: “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 (vice-captains) Jamie (Ritchie) and Ali (Price), 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 (vs Georgia, Friday)
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 18 caps
12. James Lang (Harlequins) – 2 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – Uncapped
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 50 caps (Capt)
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
5. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 32 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 37 caps
17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – Uncapped
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
19. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
21. Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 7 caps
22. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
23. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 49 caps
Quality insight from @SimonZebo on RugbyPass Offload this week to chat through his Heineken Champions Cup Final.
+ Six Nations Preview, Bledisloe and @DylanHartley on how Eddie Jones picked his squad ?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 21, 2020
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