Scotland make ten changes for South Africa

Duncan Weir (c) starts for Scotland

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a team with ten changes to the side that beat the USA for this weekend’s potential pool decider against South Africa.

For the second week running Cotter has announced ten changes to the starting line-up, however there is a familiar feel to the squad, with just four players set for their first outing in the 2015 tournament.

New arrival, Blair Cowan (back-row), prop Gordon Reid and centre Richie Vernon will all start their first match of the campaign in place of John Hardie – who continues the return-to-play protocol – Ryan Grant and Mark Bennett, while Edinburgh Rugby scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne could join them from the bench.

Three further changes have been made to the starting back division: captain Greig Laidlaw returns at scrum-half, where he’ll partner fellow half-back Duncan Weir; a replacement for Finn Russell who continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Wing Tommy Seymour starts in place of Sean Maitland, where he’ll join Tim Visser and Stuart Hogg in the back-three – the latter the only player to start all three matches for Scotland thus far.

In the forwards hooker Fraser Brown gets the start that evaded him against USA, when a back-row injury forced a late rotation.

He is joined by try-scoring prop Willem Nel – who switches roles with Jon Welsh once again – while the rested Jonny Gray returns to start alongside brother Richie, in place of the injured Grant Gilchrist (groin).

The changes are completed by Josh Strauss, who moves to the blindside flank at the expense of Alasdair Strokosch, to accommodate number 8 David Denton.

Scotland lead the group on ten points following back-to-back bonus-point wins over Japan and USA, while the 2007 champions – and the Pool’s top seeds – South Africa, are just three adrift in second, having picked up maximum points against Samoa (5) and two bonus-points in their narrow loss to Japan.

The match between the two familiar foes could therefore be significant in determining the outcome of the group, before Scotland complete their Pool campaign against Samoa the following weekend at the same venue.

“This is a massive test for our team. Playing South Africa is one of the biggest challenges you can face as a rugby player. We’ll need to be very good on the day, ” said Scotland Head Coach, Vern Cotter.


15 Stuart Hogg ,14Tommy Seymour ,13 Richie Vernon ,12 Matt Scott ,11 Tim Visser,?10 Duncan Weir ,9 Greig Laidlaw (c) ,8 David Denton . ,7 Blair Cowan , 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Jonny Gray , 4 Richie Gray , 3 Willem Nel , 2 Fraser Brown,1 Gordon Reid

Replacements : 16 Ross Ford ,17 Alasdair Dickinson ,18 Jon Welsh,19 Tim Swinson ,20 Ryan Wilson,21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne,22 Peter Horne,23 Sean Lamont

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