Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Johnson Makes Changes – But Not All Of Them

Kelly Brown - pic © Al Ross

Scotland have made four changes to their pack and await the fitness of winger Tommy Seymour before they finalise their back division for Saturday’s viagogo Autumn Test against Australia.

Glasgow Warriors team-mates prop Ryan Grant and lock Tim Swinson return to the starting line-up for Alasdair Dickinson and Richie Gray while the definitive alterations at this stage are completed by Johnnie Beattie and Kelly Brown taking back-row berths, with Brown restored to the captaincy, instead of Alasdair Strokosch and John Barclay. So instead of two number 7s, or one number 7, we now have three number 8s, one of whom is pretty handy at 6 but who will play at 7.

Changes are made to the bench too, where the uncapped 22-year-old Kieran Low is joined by the welcome Pat MacArthur, Dickinson and Euan Murray.

The match is a landmark for lock Jim Hamilton who will become the 35th Scot to win 50 or more caps for his country, while Johnnie Beattie will overtake his dad, John, when he wins his 26th cap.

Sean Lamont could equal Gregor Townsend as the third most-capped Scotland back should he win his 82nd cap on Saturday but we’ll need to wait a bit to find out though as the backs have yet to be announced, with a trimmed-down pool to select from – as the Rabo springs back into action this weekend – including Glasgow Warriors’ Mark Bennett who could figure in a Scotland match-day 23 for the first time.

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson said: “A six day turn-around from one Test match to another is always a challenge and it’s one we’ll face in our opening two games of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship too.

“Tommy (Seymour) took a bang on the leg against South Africa at the weekend so we’re looking to give him every opportunity to prove his fitness. We’ll finalise our starting back division and bench once we have an update there.

“We’re clear in what we’re trying to do at the moment which is look at different combinations with a view to intensifying the competition for places in the team. That mantra doesn’t change, so we adhere to the plan, while dealing with injuries and while always being true to the jersey.

“Australia played some quality rugby against Ireland last weekend and we’re very much looking forward to renewing rivalry with them on Saturday.”

Scotland team to play Australia at Murrayfield on Saturday 23 November, kick-off 6pm
Backs from:

Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps, 1 try, 5 points
Max Evans (Castres) 36 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 4 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby) 40 caps, 1 try, 5 points
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) 5 caps
Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 81 caps, 12 tries, 60 points
Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 23 caps, 3 conversions, 2 penalties, 2 drop goals, 18 points
Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps, 1 try, 2 conversions, 9 points
Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 63 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) 23 caps, 3 tries, 23 conversions, 49 penalties, 208 points

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 12 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 70 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 22 caps
4 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps
5 Jim Hamilton (Montpellier) 49 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 25 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) 59 caps, 4 tries, 20 points CAPTAIN
8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 16 caps


16 Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps
17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) 29 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
18 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors) 57 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
19 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) 3 caps
20 Kieran Low (London Irish) uncapped
21 TBC
22 TBC
23 TBC

Referee:   Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees:  Pascal Gauzere (France) and Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)

2 Responses

  1. What does Ross Ford have to do to get dropped? His throwing and inability to hook again put the team on the back foot against SA. I know his size in the scrum is great asset but if he can’t hook…

    Not sure I like the 3 8’s playing together. I know Denton got a bit of stick for SA but I thought he played quite well, yes he is a bit one dimensional, but he has is not making the same number of errors as last season and is not getting isolated as much with his smash-up running.

    Low did look solid in the scrum, which is strange given I don’t trust him for Glasgow. The Aussies scrum was pretty weak against the Lions, does anyone know how it has looked in recent tests?

    1. Mike, the Wallaby scrum was quite tidy v Ireland last weekend. They may just have turned a corner. Whereas the Scotland scrum, which I thought would really struggle against SA, actually did ok. Pitch was a midden, mind, and maybe a bit of a leveller. Good to see Grant back, but I’m kind of expecting a bit of a draw at scrum time.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion