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Townsend changes half the Scotland team following USA embarrassment

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has wielded the axe to his team following their embarrassing 30-29 defeat to the USA.

He’s made eight changes to the starting line-up for their match against Argentina at the Estadio Centenario in Resistencia on Saturday, seven of which come in the pack.

Tour captain Stuart McInally will make his first appearance having missed the win over Canada and the loss to USA. The Edinburgh hooker picked up a calf strain on the eve of the tour.

Tim Swinson is the only forward retained, but is switched to the second row.

Edinburgh props Allan Dell and Simon Berghan return to join McInally in the front-row, with lock and vice-captain Grant Gilchrist coming in to partner Swinson.

Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), David Denton (Leicester Tigers) and Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) are in the backrow. It will be the third time that Brown – typically a hooker – will operate on the openside for his country, having twice featured off the bench in the role for Scotland against USA, last weekend and in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The only change to the backs sees Edinburgh wing Dougie Fife – try-scorer against USA last weekend – promoted from the bench to earn his first start since 2015, alongside returning outside backs Stuart Hogg (vice-captain) and Blair Kinghorn.

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Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend, said: “The players have responded well in training this week with focus, effort and accuracy. This is our last Test of the tour and we’re determined to finish on a high.

“With the majority of the squad involved in two Tests, we believe that we’ll be in a much better position in the future, having exposed more players to Test-level rugby, for the season ahead and beyond.

“We’ve learned a lot on this tour about this group of players. Now we have to use that learning to put in a very good performance to beat Argentina on their home patch.

“We’re looking forward to a passionate atmosphere in a football stadium with the crowd very close to the pitch.

“Argentina will bring their passion and physicality where they have traditionally been strong – set piece, ball carrying and in the contact area.

“They also have a host of excellent attacking players, and the last few seasons have seen a much more expansive brand of rugby since joining the Rugby Championship and, more recently, the performances of Jaguares in Super Rugby.”

The team is completed by Glasgow Warriors pair Pete Horne and Nick Grigg who will again form the midfield, with half backs Adam Hastings (stand-off) and George Horne (scrum-half) reinstated at half-back.

Scotland and Argentina and have met 16 times in their history, with the Scot’s record standing at won seven, lost nine.

Excluding the two matches on neutral grounds (Rugby World Cup 2007 and 2011), the head-to-head count over 14 Tests is split evenly at seven apiece.

Momentum stands in the favour of the Scots, however, who have won the last three meetings between the sides in Cordoba (2014) and Edinburgh (2014 and 2016).

Scotland team to face Argentina at the Estadio Centenario, Resistencia

15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 61 caps
14. Dougie Fife (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
9. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 9 caps
4. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
7. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps
8. David Denton (Leicester Tigers) – 41 caps

Substitutes:
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
20. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets) – 11 caps
22. James Lang (Harlequins) – 1 cap
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 3 caps

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Townsend changes half the Scotland team following USA embarrassment | RugbyPass