Van der Merwe to make Scotland debut as Ritchie named vice-captain
Duhan van der Merwe will make his Scotland debut against Georgia this Friday night, while back-row star Jamie Ritchie has been named vice-captain on what will be his 19th cap for the international side.
The pair are two of 10 Edinburgh players named in the matchday squad as Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield this Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm).
Blair Kinghorn returns from injury to start at fullback, while Darcy Graham gets the nod on the wing to complete an all-Edinburgh back-three for the Autumn international warm-up.
Loosehead prop Rory Sutherland and lock Ben Toolis are both named in the tight-five, as the aforementioned Ritchie links up with Hamish Watson in the back-row.
Forward trio Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan and Nick Haining are all named among the replacements, while it has been confirmed that Grant Gilchrist and Damien Hoyland have both left the Autumn Series squad this week due to injury.
The team features some returning faces with Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson making his first start since facing the Georgian’s at home in Tblisi in August 2019 and Harlequins’ James Lang lining up at inside centre to win his 3rd cap, having last featured in the 2018 summer tour, playing against Canada and Argentina.
Captain Fraser Brown packs down in the front row with Zander Fagerson and Sutherland, with Toolis and Scott Cummings pairing at lock.
Fagerson starts at number 8 with Edinburgh back-rows Ritchie and Watson on the flanks.
Glasgow Warriors provide the half-back pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings who partnered during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell poised to win his 50th Scotland cap as a replacement, following his Heineken Champions Cup Final appearance last Saturday.
James Lang lines up alongside Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the centres and the starting XV is completed with an all Edinburgh back three of Graham and Van der Merwe on the wings and Kinghorn at full back.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “It’s been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches we’ve really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19.
“As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.”
“It is a testament to the professionalism and hard work Fraser has given to Scotland in recent years that we have selected him as the captain and he will be well supported by Jamie and Ali, who have grown as leaders over the past couple of seasons.”
“Georgia have a new coaching group in place and will want to put down a marker for their own campaign so we have picked as strong a squad as possible to go up against what will be a very physical and motivated opponent.”
Scotland team to play Georgia at BT Murrayfield
Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm) – live on ITV4.
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) - 18 caps
12. James Lang (Harlequins) – 2 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – Uncapped
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
9. Ali Price VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
2. Fraser Brown CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 50 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
5. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 32 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 37 caps
17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – Uncapped
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
19. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
21. Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 7 caps
22. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
23. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 49 caps