Scotland opened a fortnight of firsts last weekend in Tbilisi as the first tier one nation to travel for a Test match on Georgian soil, with Friday’s return fixture in Edinburgh the first ever Scotland home game on a Friday night outside the World Cup.
Coach Gregor Townsend has made 12 changes to the starting side that defeated Georgia 44-10 at the Dinamo Arena, naming a starting XV who on Tuesday were announced in the 31-man squad for World Cup 2019. Six of the eight replacements are also set to take the plane to Japan on Monday.
Glasgow Warriors’ Tommy Seymour and Scarlets No8 Blade Thomson have completed the graduated return to play protocol for concussions sustained against France almost fortnight ago, while lock Jonny Gray will feature for the first time since sustaining a hamstring strain in pre-season.
Townsend said: “We’ve been together since the middle of June and Friday night is our final chance this year to play in front of our supporters. It’s another opportunity for players to get valuable game time and build on what was a very good performance last weekend in Georgia.
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“We are very aware that Georgia will be much improved after their first hit out of the season and they will know much more about how we play. We expect a very tough challenge and it will require an improved performance from our men to deliver a winning outcome.
“It’s a boost to have Jonny back in side for the first time since last season and for others, like Tommy, Blade and Duncan, to have made a return to full fitness, following their recent injuries. It’s also great to involve two players in our squad this weekend – Grant Stewart and Magnus Bradbury – who just missed out on selection to our group to travel to Japan.
BREAKING | Scotland team named to play Georgia at BT Murrayfield this Friday night!
© Wilson to captain for the first time
? Gray, Seymour & Thomson return
? Johnson & Taylor combine
1?? First home Friday night home Test outside of RWC
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) September 4, 2019
“As with all those that didn’t make the 31-man squad, it’s important they keep training and playing well in case they get a call up during the tournament. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Scotland fans for their unprecedented levels of support this summer. We are looking forward to playing in front of another big crowd at BT Murrayfield.
“I’d also like to thank the players and management for their outstanding contributions throughout our World Cup camp. It’s a credit to their hard work and professionalism that the squad are in such great physical condition. Friday night gives us the opportunity to keep improving and get one step closer to playing our best rugby over the next few weeks.”
An entirely new pack that will take to the field from the outset on Friday, with Glasgow pair George Turner and Zander Fagerson combining with Ayrshire Bulls loosehead Gordon Reid making up the front row. Glasgow lock Scott Cummings has been promoted from the bench to feature alongside the returning Gray, while back row Jamie Ritchie completes the loose forwards alongside Wilson and Thomson.
'You get the sense Gregor Townsend delights in slinging curveballs and catching onlookers and adversaries alike on the hop’
– @JLyall93 on the difficult task of choosing the @Scotlandteam squad for @rugbyworldcup https://t.co/VkTQJnqjq0
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 4, 2019
In the backs, Saracens centre Duncan Taylor combines with a Sam Johnson in a new-look midfield, Glasgow half-backs half Ali Price and Adam Hastings get their second chance to start together in the campaign, while Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham return to start alongside fit-again Seymour.
Scotland team (to play Georgia on Friday)
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps
13. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 22 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
11. Darcy Graham – 6 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
1. Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) – 36 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps
6. Ryan Wilson CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
8. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 1 cap
16. Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
17. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
20. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
22. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 9 caps
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