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Final Autumn Test

Four changes as Scots prepare for Australia

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend is looking to build on the fine display against New Zealand when Australia visit BT Murrayfield on Saturday (pic: SNS Group).


Head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to the Scotland starting line-up for the match against Australia at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

Three of the changes appear in the pack, where Glasgow Warriors No. 8 Ryan Wilson returns to start after missing the All Blacks match with a shoulder injury.

Edinburgh Rugby lock Grant Gilchrist starts his first match of the autumn series alongside Jonny Gray, while tighthead prop Simon Berghan earns his first start for the national team in the front-row.

Recent squad addition Sean Maitland (Saracens) is the only change to an otherwise all-Glasgow Warriors backline.

He starts in place of wing Lee Jones – who misses out on the match-day 23 – to combine with Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the back-three. That leaves an unchanged half-back pairing (Ali Price and Finn Russell) and midfield (Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones), providing Dunbar completes the graduated return-to-play protocol, having sustained a concussion last weekend.

Last week’s starting back-row Cornell du Preez, lock Ben Toolis and prop Zander Fagerson move to the bench, where Fraser Brown – who recovered from a knee injury to join the squad this week – replaces fellow-Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner.

Townsend, who is looking for his players to maintain the standards set in the narrow defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday, said: “This is the third and final game of our autumn series and the players are looking forward to ending it on a high.

“Last weekend’s game was a proper Test match – intense, competitive and full of drama. Unfortunately, we just fell short of our goal, and were disappointed with the loss, but take confidence going into the game against Australia.

“Scotland’s recent history against Australia has been one of close-fought matches and, after a couple of narrow defeats, we managed to record a win last June out in Sydney.

“Our players have been training hard and will draw on all they’ve learned in the games against Samoa and New Zealand to rise to the challenge of this final Autumn Test.”

SCOTLAND TEAM:

Hogg, Seymour, H Jones, Dunbar, Maitland, Russell, Price, Marfo, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, J Gray, Barclay (capt), Wilson, Watson. Replacements: Brown, Bhatti, Fagerson, Toolis, Du Preez, Pyrgos, Horne, McGuigan.

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