Scotland team to play Australia named as Gregor Townsend makes big call on try-scoring heroes of Tonga win

Gregor Townsend has returned to the tried and trusted for Sunday’s match against Australia at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The Scotland coach has picked a side which features only one change in the starting XV from the team that defeated France in Paris in March in the final match of the 2021 Six Nations.

With Rory Sutherland out with a side muscle injury Pierre Schoeman wins his second cap at loosehead.

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There is no place in the XV for wingers Kyle Steyn and Rufus McLean who scored four and two tries respectively in last weekend’s 60-14 win over Tonga in the opening game of the Autumn Nations Series.

Stuart Hogg returns as Scotland captain. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Steyn, man of the match against Tonga, gets a place on the bench but McLean is not involved.

Townsend was unable to pick English and French-based players for last weekend’s game due to club commitments but they are available for the Australia game which means a return for full-back and captain Stuart Hogg, stand-off Finn Russell, centre Chris Harris, winger Duhan van der Merwe and lock Sam Skinner.

Darcy Graham moves back to the wing after playing at full-back against Tonga.

Glasgow Warriors’ Sam Johnson lines up with Harris in the centre while Ali Price and Russell, named as joint vice-captain with Jamie Ritchie, renew their half-back partnership.

It’s the same back row as last week, comprising Ritchie, Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson.

In the second row, Grant Gilchrist and Skinner replace Rob Harley and Jamie Hodgson. The latter is on the bench.

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In the front row there is continuity from the Tonga win as Edinburgh’s Pierre Schoeman joins Glasgow Warriors pair George Turner and Zander Fagerson.

There is the potential for two new caps among the replacements with Sale Sharks hooker Ewan Ashman and Bath back-row forward Josh Bayliss both in line for their Scotland debuts.

It means there is no place in the squad for Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally.

The replacement props are Glasgow Warriors pair Jamie Bhatti and Oli Kebble, while George Horne and Adam Hastings provide cover at half-back.

Townsend said: “While there were several positives to take from the win against Tonga we face a very different opponent in Australia this week.

“They are coming into this fixture clearly off the back of good results and full of confidence, so we will need to bring focus, accuracy and aggression for the full 80 minutes.

“We have been able to select an experienced team with the availability of our players outside of Scotland and aim to use the remaining Autumn Nations Series fixtures to build our game through improving week on week.

“This is a great opportunity to test ourselves against an in-form side, who are also one of the leading teams in world rugby.”

Scotland (v Australia, Autumn Nations Series, Sunday, BT Murrayfield, 2:15pm)

15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs - (Captain) – 85 caps

14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 20 caps

13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 28 caps

12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 19 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 10 caps

10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 - (Vice-Captain) – 55 caps

9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 43 caps

8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps

7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 42 caps

6. Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby - (Vice-Captain) – 28 caps

5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps

4. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 12 caps

3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 39 caps

2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps

1. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 1 cap

Replacements

16. Ewan Ashman – Sale Sharks - Uncapped

17. Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 19 caps

18. Oli Kebble – Glasgow Warriors – 9 caps

19. Jamie Hodgson – Edinburgh Rugby – 1 cap

20. Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – Uncapped

21. George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 14 caps

22. Adam Hastings – Gloucester Rugby – 23 caps

23. Kyle Steyn – Glasgow Warriors – 2 caps

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