Chile v Scotland A: Luke Crosbie captaincy call explained as Sione Tuipulotu is also handed leadership role

Luke Crosbie’s strong finish to the season with Edinburgh has seen him rewarded with the Scotland captaincy for the A international against Chile on Saturday.

Luke Crosbie will captain Scotland in the A international against Chile. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Luke Crosbie will captain Scotland in the A international against Chile. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The flanker will lead out the tourists in Santiago almost a year to the day after he was supposed to skipper Scotland A against England at Leicester’s Welford Road.

That game was cancelled on the morning of the match due to a Covid outbreak in the Scots camp and Gregor Townsend feels Crosbie deserves another chance at the captaincy.

“He’s a leader by example, the way he plays, the way he trains,” said the national coach. “He’s very proud to represent Scotland, and he’s had captaincy experience at Edinburgh.

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“A year ago he was due to be captain in our ‘A’ game against England which unfortunately got cancelled. So we thought highly of him then; we think very highly of him now.

“He missed the Six Nations through injury, but he’s bounced back from that really well and I thought he was one of the form players at the end of the season.”

Crosbie made his Scotland debut in the autumn international against Tonga and it remains his solitary outing for the full national side. Saturday’s game against Chile is a non-cap game but the captaincy is fitting reward for Crosbie whose return in April from a lower leg injury gave Edinburgh an injection of energy in the back row.

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Sione Tuipulotu impressed Gregor Townsend during the Six Nations. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

With the first match of the South American tour falling outside the designated international window, Townsend was unable to select players from the English Premiership. Fourteen of the starting 15 play for either Glasgow Warriors or Edinburgh with the one outlier being Javan Sebastian of Scarlets. The Welsh side granted permission for the tighthead prop to be included.

Crosbie’s vice-captain will be Sione Tuipulotu, proof if needed that the Glasgow centre is back in the coach’s good books after his involvement along with five other players in the unscheduled night out in Edinburgh following the SIx Nations win over Italy.

“Sione has impressed all of us since he got to Glasgow, since he was involved with us in November, and in the Six Nations,” said Townsend.

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“He’s such a positive influence on and off the field. Every training session, he’s got real intent and attacks it with pace. He communicates really loudly, and off the field he is a connector – a humble, hard-working player but friends with everyone.”

Townsend, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the announcement on Thursday that Mark Dodson had extended his contract as Scottish Rugby chief executive until June 2025.

“He’s a big believer that, if the pro teams and the national team have success, that trickles down to other areas of Scottish rugby and brings investment that can be spread out throughout Scottish rugby,” said Townsend. “He has been a big catalyst for that change of mindset over the last ten years.

“We’ve got a good relationship. We won’t always agree on things, but we respect each other’s views. He wants success for all our teams, whether that’s success at the national level, the pro teams or age group, and he’ll be driving that, I’m sure, over the next two years.”

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Scotland A (v Chile, Estadio Santa Laura Universidad SEK, Santiago, Saturday, 9pm BST)

15. Ollie Smith - Glasgow Warriors - 0 caps

14. Damien Hoyland - Edinburgh Rugby - 4 caps

13. Matt Currie - Edinburgh Rugby - 0 caps

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12. Sione Tuipulotu - Glasgow Warriors - (vice-captain) - 5 caps

11. Rufus McLean - Glasgow Warriors - 2 caps

10. Ross Thompson - Glasgow Warriors - 1 cap

9. George Horne - Glasgow Warriors - 17 caps

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1. Jamie Bhatti - Glasgow Warriors - 22 caps

2. Dave Cherry - Edinburgh Rugby - 5 caps

3. Javan Sebastian - Scarlets - 1 cap

4. Jamie Hodgson - Edinburgh Rugby - 5 caps

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5. Scott Cummings - Glasgow Warriors - 21 caps

6. Ben Muncaster - Edinburgh Rugby - 0 caps

7. Luke Crosbie - Edinburgh Rugby- (Captain) - 1 cap

8. Matt Fagerson - Glasgow Warriors - 21 caps

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Replacements

16. Johnny Matthews - Glasgow Warriors - 0 caps

17. Pierre Schoeman - Edinburgh Rugby - 9 caps

18. Murphy Walker - Glasgow Warriors - 0 caps

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19. Glen Young - Edinburgh Rugby - 0 caps

20. Magnus Bradbury - Edinburgh Rugby - 18 caps

21. Ali Price - Glasgow Warriors - 51 caps

22. Blair Kinghorn - Edinburgh Rugby - 31 caps

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23. Mark Bennett - Edinburgh Rugby - 24 caps

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