Scotland’s opening game of the autumn campaign will mark a series of firsts as Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield on Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm).
Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown will captain his country for the first time, winning his 51st cap, while Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe starts and will make his debut for Scotland, as will Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, who is among the replacements.
Townsend has also named scrum-half, Ali Price and back-row, Jamie Ritchie as vice-captains. The team features some returning faces with Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson making his first start since facing the Georgian’s at home in Tblisi in August 2019 and Harlequins’ James Lang lining up at inside centre to win his 3rd cap, having last featured in the 2018 summer tour, playing against Canada and Argentina.
Captain Fraser Brown packs down in the front row with Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, with Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings pairing at lock. Matt Fagerson starts at number 8 with Edinburgh backrows Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson on the flanks.
Glasgow Warriors provide the half-back pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings who partnered during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell poised to win his 50th Scotland cap as a replacement, following his Heineken Champions Cup Final appearance last Saturday.
James Lang lines up alongside Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the centres and the starting XV is completed with an all Edinburgh back three of Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe on the wings and Blair Kinghorn at full back.
“It’s been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches, we’ve really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend.
“As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.”
“It is a testament to the professionalism and hard work Fraser has given to Scotland in recent years that we have selected him as the captain and he will be well supported by Jamie and Ali, who have grown as leaders over the past couple of seasons.”
“Georgia have a new coaching group in place and will want to put down a marker for their own campaign so we have picked as strong a squad as possible to go up against what will be a very physical and motivated opponent.”
Scotland team to play Georgia at BT Murrayfield
Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm) – live on ITV4
Edinburgh players Grant Gilchrist and Damien Hoyland left the Autumn Series squad this week due to injury, with Sale hooker Ewan Ashman being added to the training squad.