Planet Rugby

Laidlaw captains Scots

13th November 2013 11:44

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Jonny Gray Scotland Under-20s 2013

Poised for debut: Gray

Teenage second-row Jonny Gray is the only uncapped player in Scotland's 23-man squad to face South Africa at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Should Gray take to the field he will become one of 47 sets of brothers to have been capped for Scotland with his elder brother, British and Irish Lion Richie, restored to the second-row in one of six changes to the side that started last weekend's 42-17 victory over Japan.

The other changes see Duncan Taylor, the 24-year-old Saracens back, replace the injured Matt Scott in the midfield to make his first start for Scotland; Alasdair Dickinson and Moray Low win the prop shirts; Jim Hamilton join Gray in the boiler-house and John Barclay, Man of the Match in Scotland's last victory over South Africa in 2010, operate at openside flanker.

For Low it will be his first start for Scotland since the 2011 World Cup warm-up international against Italy.

Greig Laidlaw will captain the side, following his stint as skipper in two matches during the summer in South Africa.

While the younger Gray sibling is on the bench, there is no shortage of experience elsewhere among the substitutes as Scott Lawson, Johnnie Beattie, Chris Cusiter and Max Evans are added to the squad with 159 caps between them, Cusiter's last outing having been against Samoa in Apia last year.

Omitted from the squad this week in addition to the injured Scott are Euan Murray - absent for reasons of his religious faith - Tim Swinson, Alastair Kellock, Kelly Brown, Pat MacArthur and Henry Pyrgos.

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson said: "I made it clear from the outset that there would be some constants in our selection for these three autumn tests, while we'd also look at both form and to the future.

"Injuries have also affected our plans this week but the game is attritional so you just have to get on with it.

"We met South Africa a mere 151 days ago in Nelspruit and they've certainly played some quality footy since we gave them a bit of a scare that day.

"I was proud of a lot of what we did in Nelspruit but in this business you have to perform for the entire game and we didn't do that in the match during the summer.

"As I said last weekend and as you'll hear me say without fear or favour at every game, the contact area will be vital this weekend and we have to improve there against a very clinical South African side."

Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Dave Denton, 7 John Barclay, 6 Al Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 John Beattie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.

Date: Sunday, November 17
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

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