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Townsend rings the changes for Springboks clash

14 November 2018 14:09

Gregor Townsend has made six changes to his Scotland side ahead of South Africa's visit to Murrayfield on Saturday.

Scotland bounced back from their 21-10 defeat to Wales with a 54-17 thrashing of Fiji last weekend, scoring eight tries in the process.

Five of the alterations come in the pack, with Gordon Reid returning at loosehead prop.

Stuart McInally and Jonny Gray step up from the bench, while Ben Toolis and Hamish Watson also make the starting XV.

Centre Huw Jones is the only change in the backs, the 24-year-old taking Alex Dunbar's place to join Glasgow Warriors team-mate Peter Horne in the midfield.

Tommy Seymour - who scored a hat-trick of tries against Fiji - is on the right wing, while scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will continue to captain the side as Scotland look to record a first victory over South Africa on home soil since 2010.

"South Africa have made a lot of improvements over the last three or four months, beating the All Blacks in New Zealand and putting in an 80-minute performance to defeat France in Paris, which underlines their quality," said Townsend.

"Their traditional strength has always been their physicality and this remains a key point of difference for them. We expect them to be confrontational and powerful in their ball carrying, their defence and also at set-piece time. It will be a great challenge for our forward pack in particular.

"South Africa have always had a smart kicking game with an excellent chase but what we’ve seen over the past few months is an ambition to move the ball from counter attack and a push to get their forwards passing the ball more.

"Our defence will have to be strong to nullify this ambitious attacking game plan."

 

Scotland team to face South Africa: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Ben Toolis, Jonny Gray, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Josh Strauss, Jamie Ritchie, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Chris Harris.

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