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Scotland A 'really motivated' for England clash even though no caps on offer

(Photo by PA)

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Pete Murchie insists the absence of caps on offer will take none of the spice out of this weekend’s Scotland A clash with England.


With Gregor Townsend and eight of the Scots’ top stars away on British and Irish Lions duty, Mike Blair and assistants Murchie, John Dalziel and Pieter De Villiers have taken charge of a 37-man squad that will face the Auld Enemy’s second string at Welford Road on Sunday.

However, Test honours will not be dispensed to those who take the field in Leicester as the game does not rank as a full international match.

Caps, though, will be dished out to the men who make the cut and join a 29-strong squad heading for Romania and Georgia next month after the double header in eastern Europe was granted Test status.

And defence coach Murchie expects to see a full-throttle approach against the Red Roses’ reserves.

“We’re treating it like a Test week in terms of our build-up,” said the former Glasgow full-back. “It’s been a long time since the A side had a fixture, so it’s great to have these fixtures back and obviously a game against England is always a big occasion.

“So the fact that we’ve got this game is brilliant. It’s a really meaningful fixture for us.


“I think when you’re playing against England you don’t have to worry about (winning caps). The guys are really motivated for this game. It’s an opportunity to put on the Thistle, and whenever you do that it’s an honour.

“There doesn’t seem to me in our preparation that guys are going through the motions. Everyone’s really preparing well for a big game on Sunday.”

Sunday’s match may not rank as a full international, but, should any of the 17-uncapped players in the Scotland squad do take part, they will be deemed to have been ‘captured’, meaning they cannot represent another nation.

But Murchie rejected the suggestion Scotland will be out to use Sunday’s game purely to nail down a handful of players boasting dual nationality.


Ulster hooker Adam McBurney has previously represented Ireland at youth levels, while Northampton prop Nick Auterac and Bath back-rower Josh Bayliss have England Under-20 caps.

It is a similar story with Welsh-born Scarlets forward Javan Sebastian and ex-Australian Schoolboy Sione Tuipulotu.

Murchie said: “Capturing is a bit of a talking point in the international game at the moment, but I don’t think about it.

“I don’t think that we have to capture this player or that – it’s about whether they have earned the opportunity and do we want to get them in this environment.

“As far as I’m concerned, the capturing aspect isn’t a motivation to get these guys in. A lot of them will have been in the system and in these camps for a long time and have committed to playing for Scotland.”


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