Scotland will undertake a three Test tour to Australasia this summer, it was confirmed today by the SRU. Most of it we knew already but the dates and times have been firmed up.
The tour will begin with a Test match against Australia, which will be played at the Ausgrid Stadium in Newcastle, New South Wales, on Tuesday 5 June with a 7.30pm kick-off local time. The Scotland match against Australia will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK.
The Test match action continues against Fiji on Saturday 16 June at Churchill Park, Lautoka (kick-off 2pm local time) and concludes against Samoa on Saturday 23 June at Apia Park, Apia (kick-off mid afternoon local time).
In addition, a Scotland XV will play New South Wales Waratahs at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, on Sunday 10 June at 3pm local time.
In terms of these other matches, Scottish Rugby is making inquiries into broadcast arrangements in the Pacific Islands for supporters at home and will advise us as soon as there is any further information. I wouldn’t hold out any hope of seeing the Waratahs game, put it that way.
A 32-strong playing party will be named in mid May. Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “This will be a tough, full-on tour and I’ve been pleased with the form of many of the contenders for places within both the Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors teams over the last few weeks.
“We have seen a fantastic victory by Edinburgh over Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-final and Glasgow remain on course for the play-offs in the RaboDirect PRO12, having displayed ruthlessness in their win against Cardiff Blues.”
The tour will be without Kelly Brown who confirmed at the Melrose Sevens that he would be out until next season most likely, so it remains to be seen whether Robinson continues with Ross Ford as captain or reverts to a new or old face to lead the squad.
The tour will also see the dateline for Tim Visser’s qualification on residency as a Scottish-eligible player (June 12th), in time for the Fiji and Samoa tests. Whether or not the Waratahs game is full-cap or what rules govern those sort of matches is unclear, but it is unlikely he would make an appearance there if he was in the tour party. There is always a chance he may not make the party, given Edinburgh’s league form but he played very well in a defensive/chasing role against Toulouse and if he can harness that to the try-scoring side of his game he would be a big threat to some of the incumbents in the squad who have fairly poor try scoring records.
Rory is the editor of Scottish Rugby Blog, and has offered a fan's view on Scottish Rugby since founding the blog.