|Scotland v South Africa|
|Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 17:20 GMT|
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to the starting XV for Saturday’s match against South Africa.
Centre Huw Jones, whose professional career began in South Africa, is the only new name in the backline.
The other five changes all come in the pack with Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis and Hamish Watson included.
South Africa make two changes with lock RG Snyman and scrum-half Embrose Papier the fresh faces.
Snyman’s inclusion comes as a result of Warren Whiteley’s calf injury and has necessitated two positional switches, with Pieter-Steph du Toit moving from lock to back row and Duane Vermuelen reverting to his favoured number eight.
Scotland: 15-Hogg, 14-Seymour, 13-Jones, 12-P Horne, 11-Maitland, 10-Russell, 9-Laidlaw; 1-Reid, 2-McInally, 3-Nel, 4-Toolis, 5-J Gray, 6-Skinner, 7-Watson, 8-Wilson.
Replacements: 16-Brown, 17-Dell, 18-Berghan, 19-Strauss, 20-Ritchie, 21-Price, 22-Hastings, 23-Harris.
South Africa: 15-Le Roux, 14-Nkosi, 13-Kriel, 12-De Allende, 11-Dyantyi, 10-Pollard, 9-Papier; 1-Kitshoff, 2-Marx, 3-Malherbe, 4-Snyman, 5-Mostert, 6-Kolisi, 7-PS Du Toit, 8-Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16-Mbonambi, 17-T Du Toit, 18-Koch, 19-De Jager, 20-Louw, 21-Van Zyl, 22-Jantjies, 23-Kolbe.
Andrew Cotter: As impressive as Scotland’s win over Fiji was, nobody doubts that this will be a far more difficult Test match.
The Springboks present a big challenge in every sense. Consider the new back-row after injury to Warren Whiteley; Pieter-Steph du Toit moves from lock to join Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen just adds power.
Gregor Townsend knows that his side has to counter that physicality with a relentless, fast-moving game. The aim will be to survive the scrums and mauls, tire the visitors and counter their direct running and blitz defence.
Among six changes for Scotland from last week, Huw Jones returns in the centre after the defensive frailties he showed against Wales and can expect a busy evening against Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel in midfield. But expect a breathless pace from Scotland as they hope to continue their impressive run at Murrayfield.
VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: “Given what South Africa have done recently, it would probably be our biggest win in the last couple of years.
“Obviously England stands out as such a memorable win. The fact they had won so many games in succession and that trophy we play for makes it even more special.
“But I just feel that South Africa are in the top two or three teams in the world with the way they play against the best teams in the world.”
South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus: “Scotland are a well-coached side, they are difficult to break down and they will present us with a very tough challenge at Murrayfield.
“The matches in the northern hemisphere are all closely fought encounters, with the set-piece battle key, and it’s important to grab the big moments and finish your opportunities.”
- Scotland’s only victory in the last 13 meetings was a 21-17 triumph at Murrayfield in November 2010 – a match for which Gregor Townsend was assistant coach.
- South Africa have outscored Scotland 15 tries to one in the last three meetings.
- The Dark Blues have only beaten South Africa five times in the 26 all-time meetings, losing 21.
- Scotland have won 10 of their last 11 home games, their only loss in the last two years coming against New Zealand last autumn.
- Tommy Seymour’s hat-trick last weekend ended a 20-month international try drought.
- A hooker has scored a try in each of Scotland’s last six Tests with eight tries in total.
- Scotland’s last 10 matches have featured six wins and four defeats.
- Only two of South Africa’s six wins in 2018 have come away from home.
- The 26-23 win in France was just their fifth win in their last 18 Tests on their travels (D1, L12).
- Rassie Erasmus has a win percentage of 50% from his first 12 matches (W6, L6).
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)