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Scotland make eight changes, include four new caps versus Tonga

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Scotland boss Gregor Townsend has made eight changes to his starting XV for this Saturday’s clash with Tonga, their first game since the dramatic win last March over France in the Six Nations. The Scots were left in cold storage since then due to the cancellation of their summer series matches but they now return to action with a much-altered line-up from their last outing. 


The unavailability of their non-Scotland players such as skipper Stuart Hogg due to the match falling outside World Rugby’s player release window has allowed Townsend the opportunity to hugely change things up and he has included four new caps in the starting team with four more rookies named on the bench. 

With Hogg busy with Exeter next weekend, Scotland will also use co-captains for the first time, Ali Price and Jamie Ritchie chosen for the honour by Townsend who has given debut caps to winger Rufus McLean, centre Sione Tuipulotu, loosehead Pierre Schoeman and second-row Jamie Hodgson. 

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The bench newcomers are lock Marshall Sykes, back-rower Luke Crosbie and half-backs Jamie Dobie and Ross Thompson.

Townsend said: “This week has been our first opportunity since the Six Nations to come together as a team and our goal is to become a better team over the next month. Saturday will also be a huge occasion for a number of players in our squad who have the honour of playing for their country for the first time.

“Tonga will be very dangerous opponents for us as they pose a ferocious physical challenge in attack and defence. They performed very well on their last visit to Scotland and I’m sure they will be highly motivated to take the game to us once again.”


SCOTLAND (vs Tonga, Saturday)
15. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 19 caps
14. Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap
13. Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – Uncapped
12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
11. Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors – Uncapped
10. Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 25 caps
9. Ali Price (cc) – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
1. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – Uncapped
2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps
3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 38 caps
4. Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – Uncapped
5. Rob Harley – Glasgow Warriors – 22 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (cc) – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps
7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 41 caps
8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 13 caps

16. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 40 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
18. Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 8 caps
19. Marshall Sykes – Edinburgh Rugby – Uncapped
20. Luke Crosbie – Edinburgh Rugby – Uncapped
21. Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 8 caps
22. Jamie Dobie – Glasgow Warriors – Uncapped
23. Ross Thompson – Glasgow Warriors – Uncapped




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