Rugby: Uncapped Rob Harley named on Scotland bench for Samoa Test
GLASGOW Warriors flanker Rob Harley has taken a step nearer a long-awaited first cap after being named on the Scotland bench for Saturday’s final summer Test against Samoa.
The 22-year-old product of Douglas Academy and West of Scotland RFC has been involved with the Scotland squad for the past two years and featured often as a travelling reserve, but without making the cut for the 22.
A versatile player, he was unlucky to be left out of the World Cup squad, but duly turned that into an opportunity by skippering Glasgow to victories which coach Sean Lineen said set the platform for their run to the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs.
Harley, who can play in most positions in the back five of the pack, is joined by Max Evans and Mike Blair on the bench, with Sean Lamont and Chris Cusiter being handed starts this week.
Scotland have never lost to Samoa in seven Test meetings and never faced Samoa in a Test match in the Pacific. They lost 28-11 in Apia in 1993 in a non-capped match and then defeated a Samoan side led by former Borders flanker Semo Sititi in Wellington, New Zealand, 38-3, in a Test shifted to allow for television coverage.
The IRB and South Seas nations have been keen to welcome tier one nations to their islands even though it means this week that there will be no broadcast pay-off for the host nation.
However, with Samoa returning from capturing the IRB Pacific Nations Cup Saturday’s Test has added to the interest in Samoa, and heightened expectations that the hosts could claim an historic first Test win over the Scots.
Should Scotland win, however, and finish the summer tour with a unique three-in-a-row they would leapfrog Samoa and return to ninth in the IRB world rankings, providing new hope that they could move into the top eight in the autumn – they would probably have to beat one of New Zealand or South Africa, and Tonga depending on results elsewhere - and secure second seed status for December’s World Cup draw.
Full interviews and analysis from Iain Morrison in The Scotsman.
Scotland team (v Samoa at Apia Park on Saturday, 23 June, kick-off 3.30pm local time/3.30am BST)
15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 6 caps, 1 try, 5 points
14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 67 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
13 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh) 35 caps, 1 try, 5 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh) 3 caps
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh) 1 cap, 2 tries, 10 points
10 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh) 9 caps, 2 tries, 6 conversions, 14 penalties, 64 points
9 Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 61 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh) 60 caps, 2 tries, 10 points CAPTAIN
3 Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons) 46 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 23 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 43 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) 27 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) 18 caps
8 Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) 19 caps
16 Scott Lawson (London Irish) 33 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
17 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 14 caps
18 Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
19 Robert Harley (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
20 Mike Blair (Brive) 82 caps, 7 tries, 35 points
21 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 conversion, 2 points
22 Max Evans (Castres) 29 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).
Assistant referees: Ian Smith and Andrew Lees (both Australia).
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