Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland Team for South Africa Test

Scotland v South Africa

Scotland have made two changes from their starting XV and a further four alterations to their bench for Saturday’s EMC Test against South Africa at Murrayfield.

Euan Murray, the 32-year-old tighthead prop who was man of the match when the nations clashed at Murrayfield in 2008, is restored at tight-head prop having missed the New Zealand game due to his religious observance, with Geoff Cross moving to the bench.

Elsewhere in the pack, Edinburgh Rugby’s David Denton, who replaced the injured Ross Rennie against New Zealand, retains his berth in the back-row with captain Kelly Brown confirmed at openside.

Almost 56,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s EMC Test, meaning Scotland are set to smash box-office attendance records for Test matches at this time of year by the time they play Tonga in Aberdeen. We’ve got some to give away too!

On the bench, Dougie Hall, whose most recent cap was in the Rugby World Cup pool match against Argentina in Wellington last year, is preferred to Scott Lawson; and Cross takes the place of his Edinburgh colleague Allan Jacobsen, who is unavailable for personal reasons.

The experienced John Barclay returns to the match-day squad and there’s a first involvement in a Scotland 23 for Barclay’s Glasgow Warriors’ team-mate, the uncapped 26-year-old Peter Murchie who is nominated instead of Max Evans.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “We know we’re in for a bruising battle against South Africa this weekend and we will be primed for that physical confrontation.

“But we also have to be smart in how we approach this game and do our utmost to ensure we get on the front foot and get the result that will move us into the top eight in the IRB world rankings ahead of next month’s 2015 Rugby World Cup draw.

“I was pleased with Euan’s contribution both at scrummage and in open play during the summer tour, while David Denton’s aggressive carrying is something that really gets the crowd going.

“Dougie Hall has had a good season for Glasgow and I know that John Barclay has been one of our most consistent and reliable back-row forwards since he made his debut five years ago.

“Peter Murchie is another who has had a fine start to the season with Glasgow and his desire to dominate in aerial combat has been a factor in selection.”

Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play South Africa in the EMC Test at Murrayfield on Saturday 17 November (kick-off 2.30pm)

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 8 caps, 1 try, 5 points

14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 69 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
13 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby) 36 caps, 1 try, 5 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 5 caps
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 3 caps, 4 tries 20 points

10 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) 11 caps, 2 tries, 10 conversions, 16 penalties, 78 points
9 Mike Blair (Brive) 84 caps, 7 tries, 35 points

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 62 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Euan Murray (Agen) 47 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 25 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 40 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) 29 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) CAPTAIN, 50 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 7 caps


16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 37 caps, 1 try, 5 points
17 Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby) 3 caps
18 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 15 caps, 1 try, 5 points
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 45 caps, 1 try, 5 points
20 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 39 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 1 cap
22 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 14 caps, 2 conversions, 2 penalties, 2 drop-goals, 16 points
23 Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland).  Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland) and Cristophe Berdos (France).  TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

12 Responses

  1. Why do we persist in selecting Euan Murray when he isnt available for all matches. There is no denying his strength and experience, but, surely consistency in selection injuries permitting is what is needed.

    1. I do think Cross was worth his place again this week. Robbo is obviously hoping he can front up to the Bokke pack as in the past and give the set piece a bit more oomph. He’s certainly not going to match Cross in the loose that is for sure.

  2. I am in disbelief that “girth” has been droppped to the bench for this one. He scrummaged superbly last week and was excellent in the loose. A wave of excitement went round Murrayfield when he got his hands on the ball.

    Peter Murchie? I saw him play for Dundee a season or so back and he was offensive. Premier 1 players are better than he is. To drop Max Evans for him is a wind up.

    The best teams in the world have specified opensides so to effectively play 3 6/8’s is also a mistake. Although dont think Barclay would have justified selection as he has been average at best for well over 2 years now. Lucky to make the squad.

    1. Don’t think you can say that Girth scrummaged superbly – he was under huge pressure at the scrum and the Saffers present a step up on that front. He carried well but he was palpably at fault for the Hore try. Not unhappy that Murray’s been brought in.

      Kelly has played a significant enough amount of rugby at openside in his career, so have no problem with him doing a job there.

      Would love to see Dunbar given a go off the bench – never thought that much of Murchie. Max Evans missed a shocker of a tackle for the last NZ try – that might have been what sealed his fate…

  3. I would have to admit that I am a bit concerned by the selection considering that South Africa will run at us all day long, I’m not sure our centres &/or Laidlaw will stop them.

    The make up of the bench doesn’t seem strong either but beggars can’t be choosers.

    On the plus side, at least Robbio is blooding new players. That in itself is progress.

    Good luck to the guys on Saturady.

  4. I like the makeup of the team and certain elements on the bench look fairly strong but we’re still lacking a little. If you think of the nice warm feeling you get looking at a strong Glasgow bench packed with caps vs an ineffectual Edinburgh one.

    Scotland still sometimes feel like an Edinburgh bench!

    Would like to see Seymour get a run ahead of Evans, he’s on fire at the moment.

  5. Agree that Denton played well when he came on but what does it say about Robinsons selection if he is still not confident enought to play Barcalay at 7? Maybe confidence is the wrong expression but surely highlights the mistake in not picking Fusaro in the original squad. Hope to see him called up before the match against Tonga.

    Also looking forward to hearing Murrayfield erupt when Girth no doubt makes his appearence off of the bench! Impact.

  6. Blast, just seen Cameron’s post. Oh well more likely for Fusaro to get called up for Tonga then if Barclay starting in this one?

  7. Just another example of Robinson(who I think is an otherwise excellent coach) and the SRU refusing to pick in form players.

    That Fusaro isn’t included in the match day squad for this one, given that we have had 2 back row drop outs, shows a stunning lack of willingness to reward club performances.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion