WINGER Tommy Seymour has been passed fit for Scotland’s final autumn Test against Australia tomorrow, while stand-off Ruaridh Jackson has been dropped in favour of Glasgow team-mate Duncan Weir.
Scotland head coach Scott Johnson had delayed naming his back division to give Glasgow’s Seymour another day to recover from the leg injury that he suffered in last Sunday’s 28-0 defeat to South Africa.
Johnson was also forced into a late change in the forwards with another Warrior, Tim Swinson, forced to withdraw after aggravating a chest injury. That opened the door for 23-year-old Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist to earn his fourth cap.
Max Evans of Castres, with his ability to cover both centre and wing, is preferred to young Glasgow centre Mark Bennett on the bench, so the only change in the backs from the Springbok defeat is Weir for Jackson.
Johnson said: “The injuries we’ve experienced with four of our frontline backs sidelined – Stuart Hogg, Tim Visser, Alex Dunbar and Matt Scott – have meant that we’ve had to think long and hard about combinations and our bench.”
While Jackson did not enjoy his best game in a Scotland jersey last week, Weir was always lined up for a run as Johnson runs the rule over two players very close in the running for the pivotal No 10 position. If Weir plays well this weekend, he could move ahead of Jackson, three years his elder, in the pecking order for the Six Nations.
While Jackson is naturally a running stand-off who is having to work hard to improve his kicking game, former footballer Weir is working with coach Gregor Townsend at Glasgow to add a more rounded attacking game to his kicking qualities.
It will be a great test for him to come up against Wallaby counterpart Quade Cooper, not unlike Townsend in the way he plays the game close to the gain-line and looks to put team-mates into gaps.
Weir said: “I loved to watch the Queensland Reds in the summer when I was injured. I taped all of their games because [Will] Genia and Cooper play for them, and they are great to watch. They both have long passes and it will be interesting to see how we cope with that. He [Cooper] also has quality feet and you can almost say you can expect the unexpected from him. But it’s not just about how I play or he plays. It’s going to be more about how our team attacks and the shape we have after getting some good things in place last week but not finishing, and learning the lessons from the Springboks.
Weir is eager to make amends for some errors after coming off the bench against the Boks. “I was forcing it too much at times but you have to do that a bit when you’re 28-0 down. It was the first time I’d really seen a defence as aggressive as that, so we’ve done a lot of analysis on that now and looked at how we can turn that back on them, so it was a huge learning curve for me and the whole team.”