Scotland rugby team: Ross Ford to become most capped player

Ross Ford will earn his 110th cap after being included in the starting XV to face Fiji. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ross Ford will earn his 110th cap after being included in the starting XV to face Fiji. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Scotland hooker Ross Ford is set to break his country’s caps record on Saturday after being named in the starting line-up to face Fiji.

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Ford is poised to earn his 110th cap as coach Gregor Townsend announced 12 changes to the XV which began the match against Australia.

Glasgow centre Nick Grigg is set to make his debut, with Finn Russell having left the tour to link up with the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand and Alex Dunbar granted permission to leave the tour a week early.

Ford will go clear of Chris Paterson as Scotland’s most capped Test player provided there are no late injury setbacks, and asked to describe what makes him such a special player, Townsend said: “His mindset and work-rate. Ross loves everything about being a rugby player. He puts in the work in the gym and the training field, which is the reason why he is still playing really well after 109 caps.

“We’ve seen it on this tour. He has driven a lot of the standards. It’s really good from our perspective that we have two hookers (Ford and Fraser Brown) who are competing for that position.”

Grigg is one of three players who have not featured on the tour so far to get their first outing against Fiji. Alex Allan, the Glasgow prop whose only cap came three years ago, comes in for Gordon Reid in a new-look front row. John Hardie, who should have played the opening game against Italy but damaged his back in the work-up, also starts.

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Speaking about Griggs, Townsend said: “We believe this is the right time to give him an opportunity. He was close to being involved against Italy. We think his link with Duncan (Taylor) will be great for him in his first Test match.”

Townsend is determined his side will not slip at the final hurdle after recording an impressive win over Australia last weekend.

“It’s been a very good tour so far,” he said.

“The games have gone well, with two positive results and the players have enjoyed their time together.

“In terms of selection, we are looking at where the guys are in terms of form and their physical status, as well as seeking to give players opportunities. It’s a really strong team with a bench that can up the tempo of the game. We’re looking forward to seeing them play.

“Fiji have improved a huge amount over the past few years and did very well to find a way to win against Italy last weekend. They are excellent from unstructured play and have a number of very evasive players throughout their squad.”

Fiji sprang their own surprises when they named a side showing seven changes from the one which squeaked past Italy with an 80th-minute drop goal. Niko Matawalu, a former crowd favourite at Glasgow, has been left out, though Leone Nakarawa, who also played in Scotland, is included.

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