Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named his starting line-up to face Tonga at Murrayfield on Saturday

Scotland name four uncapped players in starting line-up to face Tonga at Murrayfield

Scotland have picked four uncapped players to face Tonga at BT Murrayfield on Saturday in their opening match of the Autumn Nations Series.

By Graham Bean
Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 1:06 pm

There are another four on the bench as head coach Gregor Townsend tests the depth of his squad ahead of sterner tests to come.

Scotland will be led by co-captains for the first time, with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Edinburgh’s Jamie Ritchie sharing the honour.

There is an air of experimentation about the selection, with Blair Kinghorn picked at stand-off. The Edinburgh man has won his previous 25 caps either on the wing or at full-back.

Darcy Graham, his clubmate, will start at full-back against Tonga rather than his more accustomed role on the wing.

Scotland are unable to call upon their England and France-based players for the match which falls outside the designated international window.

The starting debutants are Glasgow Warriors pair Rufus McLean and Sione Tuipulotu and Edinburgh duo Pierre Schoeman and Jamie Hodgson.

The pacy McLean has been in fine form for Glasgow since breaking into the team last season and will start on one wing, with team-mate Kyle Steyn on the other. They are joined at outside centre by another Glasgow man, Tuipulotu, who is Australian born with Tongan heritage and a grandmother from Greenock.

South African-born Schoeman qualifies for Scotland after fulfilling the three-year residency requirement and is joined in the pack by Hodgson, the Edinburgh lock.

A further four debutants are in line for caps off the bench, which has a 6-2 forwards split.

They are Edinburgh forwards Marshall Sykes and Luke Crosbie and Glasgow half-backs Jamie Dobie and Ross Thompson.

Townsend said: “Tonga will be very dangerous opponents for us, as they pose a ferocious physical challenge in attack and defence. They performed very well on their last visit to Scotland and I’m sure they will be highly motivated to take the game to us once again."

Here is the full starting XV and replacements ...

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