Canada v Scotland: Horne given chance to shine

Peter Horne arrived in Canada on Monday evening and faces Canada this weekend. Picture: SNS
Peter Horne arrived in Canada on Monday evening and faces Canada this weekend. Picture: SNS
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Scotland have made four changes for tomorrow’s Test match against Canada in Toronto, two of which were enforced by injury.

Grant Gilchrist replaces Jim Hamilton in the second row after the latter was invalided out of the tour during last weekend’s win over the USA in Houston. Gilchrist will be calling the line- out codes but it was revealed that Richie Gray has had some extra homework on that in case of injury to his Edinburgh partner.

Peter Horne, who only arrived in Canada on Monday evening, comes straight into the starting XV for the injured Duncan Taylor at inside centre. Horne suffered an ugly knee injury against South Africa 12 months ago while making only his second appearance at Test level but he has recovered sufficiently to make his first start for Scotland.

“Horne is a second first five [stand-off],” said Scotland coach Vern Cotter on his midfield choice. “He offers a playmaker’s role and he is [another] decision maker. Ten and 12 are the people who have to make decisions on the field and he is adept at that. If we are losing shape he can offer it and I think that’s important.

“I really want to develop ten and 12 as decision-makers and playmakers. Max [Evans] came off the bench well last weekend; we could have put him in but it is nice to have someone who can bring something off the bench.”

Elsewhere, Cotter has shuffled his forward pack, with Moray Low swapping places with Geoff Cross in the No 3 shirt, and Cross starting tomorrow’s Test on the bench. Kelly Brown, as expected, comes into the third row of the scrum for Blair Cowan at openside flanker but Greig Laidlaw retains the captaincy.

“He needed a break,” said Scotland’s coach when quizzed about Brown, Scotland’s former captain. “It’s nice to have experience and Kelly brings that to the team. Playing him and Al Strokosch, it is not open-side and blind-side, they mix it up and Johnny Beattie is a very mobile No 8.

“We also have locks who are very mobile and can carry as well. It’s nice to have Kelly back in. It [the captaincy] is about consistency. Greig did a good job. If I have a captain who is talking to the referee, I want someone else who is talking to the team while he is doing that. That role is important. We are lucky to have guys who can do that.”

Is Brown the vice-captain? “We haven’t even thought about it,” said Cotter.

Scotland’s dangerous-looking back three of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tim Visser scored two of the three tries against the Eagles and will hope to add to that tally against Canada.

Cowan made his Test debut last week, and the Kiwi retains a position on the bench where he can cover all three back-row positions while London Irish colleague Kieran Low is covering the second row. Tim Swinson flew out to Canada to replace Hamilton but the Glasgow lock is not even on the bench.

The other changes to the bench see Bristol’s Kyle Traynor replacing Alex Allan and hooker Kevin Bryce replacing Pat MacArthur. Bryce is the son of the long-serving Heriots’ prop Jock Bryce and he is in line to collect his first cap. He is in the same position as Allan in that Bryce enjoyed just two appearance off the bench for Glasgow last season for a total of 46 minutes of rugby, which must have been frustrating. Scrum-half Grayson Hart is the only other uncapped player in the squad.

Scotland have played Canada three times but, oddly enough, Canada have played against Scotland on four separate occasions and won two of them. The discrepancy is explained because, in 1991, Canada beat a strong Scotland XV that boasted the likes of Doddie Weir, Craig Chalmers, Derek Turnbull, Tony Stanger and John Allan in their ranks. Canada awarded caps for the match, Scotland did not.

Scotland lead Canada by two wins to one, Vancouver 2002 being the only time the Canucks have beaten an official Scotland Test team. The last time the two teams met back in 2008 in Aberdeen, snow and ice had to be shovelled off Pittodrie. Despite that being just six years ago, evergreen flanker Alasdair Strokosch is the only survivor from the Scotland starting XV that day. Max Evans started on the bench just as he will do tomorrow, and Scotland won comfortably, 41-0.


15 J Pritchard

14 J Hassler

13 C Hearn

12 N Blevins

11 T Paris

10 H Jones

9 P Mack

1 H Buydens

2 A Carpenter

3 J Marshall

4 T Hotson

5 J Cudmore

6 J Sinclair

7 J Moonlight

8 T Ardron (capt)


16 R Barkwill

17 A Tiedemann

18 J Ilnicki

19 K Gilmour

20 J Phelan

21 G McRorie

22 C Braid

23 DTH v der Merwe


15 S Hogg

14 S Maitland

13 S Lamont

12 P Horne

11 T Visser

10 F Russell

9 G Laidlaw (capt)

1 G Reid

2 S Lawson

3 M Low

4 R Gray

5 G Gilchrist

6 A Strokosch

7 K Brown

8 J Beattie


16 K Bryce

17 K Traynor

18 G Cross

19 K Low

20 B Cowan

21 G Hart

22 R Jackson

23 M Evans