Rufus McLean named in Scotland team to play South Africa as Hamish Watson drops to bench

Rufus McLean has been named in the Scotland team to play South Africa on Saturday.

Hamish Watson in action for Scotland during the Autumn Nations Series win over Australia. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Hamish Watson in action for Scotland during the Autumn Nations Series win over Australia. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The Glasgow Warriors winger’s inclusion is one of four changes to the side that defeated Australia last weekend.

McLean, who scored two tries on his international debut against Tonga last month, replaces Darcy Graham on the right wing. Graham drops out of the squad.

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There is a call-up for Matt Scott at inside centre, with the Leicester Tigers man starting for Scotland for the first time since June 2017, when he played against Italy in Singapore in Gregor Townsend’s first match as head coach. Scott, 31, will win his 40th cap and replaces Sam Johnson who also drops out of the match-day 23 for the game at BT Murrayfield.

The other changes are in the pack.

In a reshuffled back row, Edinburgh’s Nick Haining comes in on the blindside flank, with Jamie Ritchie moving to the openside. Hamish Watson, the man of the match against Australia and a try-scorer in the 15-13 win, drops to the bench. Matt Fagerson continues at No 8.

Stuart McInally starts at hooker in place of George Turner, with Ewan Ashman providing cover on the bench.

Turner suffered a rib injury against the Wallabies and is not included. Ashman replaced him in the 11th minute last weekend and scored a superb debut try but Townsend has opted for the experienced McInally as his starting No 2.

Rufus McLean scored two tries on his Scotland debut against Tonga. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

There is also a place on the bench for the versatile Edinburgh back Blair Kinghorn who can cover full-back, stand-off and wing. There is no place in the squad for either Josh Bayliss or Kyle Steyn who both featured as substitutes against Australia.

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Scotland team (v South Africa at BT Murrayfield, Saturday, 1pm)

15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs - (Captain) – 86 caps

Matt Scott (R) is back in the Scotland team for the first time in four years. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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14. Rufus McLean – Glasgow Warriors - 1 cap

13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 29 caps

12. Matt Scott – Leicester Tigers – 39 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 11 caps

10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 - (Vice-Captain) – 56 caps

9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 44 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 2 caps

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2. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby - 41 caps

3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 40 caps

4. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 13 caps

5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 46 caps

6. Nick Haining – Edinburgh Rugby – 9 caps

7. Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby - (Vice-Captain) – 29 caps

8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 15 caps


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16. Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks – 1 cap

17. Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps

18. Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 10 caps

19. Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – 2 caps

20. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps

21. George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 15 caps

22. Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 24 caps

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23. Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 26 caps