Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg return for Scotland

Date published: November 8 2018

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has brought Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell back into the XV to face Fiji at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Hogg has been absent from competitive action since having surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in September, while Racing 92’s Russell was unavailable last weekend due to the game falling outside the international window.

They are among nine changes to the starting Scotland line-up from their defeat to Wales. Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner is set to make his debut, while Russell, Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) and wing Sean Maitland (Saracens) are also set to start.

It will be Laidlaw’s first Scotland outing since kicking the match-winning penalty against Italy in the Six Nations earlier this year, securing a third-placed finish for the visitors in Rome.

It will also be the first time the scrum-half, who has captained the national team more than any other player, will lead the side under Townsend.

Glasgow Warriors duo Alex Dunbar and Tommy Seymour return to start in the backs, while Pete Horne is promoted from last week’s bench in Cardiff to partner Dunbar in midfield.

Debutant Skinner is one of four changes to the pack, with hooker Fraser Brown, lock Grant Gilchrist and number eight Matt Fagerson promoted from last week’s bench, while props Allan Dell and Willem Nel, and back-row forwards Ryan Wilson and Jamie Ritchie, are all reinstated.

Scotland head coach Townsend said: “It’s a more experienced side this week in terms of time together at this level, while we’ve rewarded some of those who performed well off the bench with the chance to start.

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“We’ve had a good week in training with a slightly different focus for the challenges we expect Fiji to present this Saturday.

“In particular, they pose huge threats off turnover ball, utilising some of the best individual players, one-on-one, in the world.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Pete Horne, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 George Horne, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Chris Harris

Date: Saturday, November 10
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)