Cotter names Scotland team for Australia RWC QF

Vern Cotter will not stay on after next year

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named his team to play Australia at Twickenham on Sunday in their Rugby World Cup quarter final.

Cotter has made four changes to the side that played Samoa last weekend and hooker Fraser Brown and lock Tim Swinson start the match as replacements for the suspended forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray.

In the back row Blair Cowan and centre Peter Horne have been drafted in for Ryan Wilson and Matt Scott who has been ruled out as he is suffering with back pain.

The rest of the team is the same as the one that beat Samoa 36-33 so Scotland will have some familiarity in the forward pack.

Brown will join Edinburgh Rugby props Alasdair Dickinson and Willem Nel in the front-row; Swinson will partner Richie Gray in the boiler house, and number 8 David Denton completes a mobile back-row with Cowan and last weekend’s man-of-the-match, John Hardie.

Captain Greig Laidlaw and stand-off Finn Russell return at half-back, and Horne links up with club-mate Mark Bennett in midfield, while the back-three trio of Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour is unchanged. Kevin Bryce and Alasdair Strokosch come on to the bench to take the spaces vacated by Brown and Swinson.

Scotland Head Coach, Vern Cotter, said: “It’s always nice to be part of the final eight of any qualifying competition, the guys are very excited about being here.

“We will go into this game with the belief that we can compete with and dominate a very strong Australian team, and move forward to the last four.

“They are a front-foot momentum team so defence will be key but also getting our hands on the ball and expressing ourselves as we like to.”

The two nations have met on 28 Test-capped occasions, with the Wallabies leading the head-to-heads 19 to nine.

The results of the last five meetings – dating back to 2004 – are, however, a little more even, with the Aussies holding a 3-2 lead, with less than a score separating the sides in the past three meetings, of which Scotland won two.

The Scot’s notable victories in the sequence were the back-to-back, home and away successes at BT Murrayfield in 2009 (9-8) and in Newcastle, Australia in 2012 (9-6), in which captain Greig Laidlaw held his nerve to kick the match-winning penalty.

They now face the Wallabies on the biggest stage since they met in the RWC 2003 Quarter-Final in Brisbane, with the victor facing either Ireland or Argentina in the penultimate round.


Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); David Denton, John Hardie, Blair Cowan; Richie Gray, Tim Swinson; WP Nel, Fraser Brown, Alasdair Dickinson

Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Alasdair Strokosch, Josh Strauss, Henry Pyrgos, Richie Vernon, Sean Lamont

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