Scotland ring the changes for Tonga
November 21, 2012
Bath fly-half Tom Heathcote has been named on the bench © PA Photos
Scotland have made five changes ahead of their Test with Tonga on Saturday in Aberdeen.
Scotland fell to the Springboks last Saturday but will hope to bounce back when they tackle Tonga at the weekend. Coach Andy Robinson has shuffled his back line with Max Evans coming into the side in place of Nick de Luca while Henry Pyrgos, who scored against South Africa last week, earns his first start for the Test side and lines up at scrum-half.
In the forwards, Scott Lawson is handed his first start since 2011 while Al Kellock gets the nod over Jim Hamilton in the second-rows. And in the back-row, Alasdair Strokosch has recovered from his calf injury and takes his place at blindside.
And there are four further changes to the bench. Robinson has included uncapped duo Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist and Bath fly-half Tom Heathcote, who was called up on Monday evening. Rory Lawson is also named while De Luca drops down to the replacements from the XV.
Last Saturday's loss to the Springboks meant that Scotland will not manage to break into the top eight sides in the world ahead of December's 2015 World Cup draw. And with that in mind, Robinson has opted to shuffle around his XV so that some players get valuable game time.
"We will not be among the top eight seeds for the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw, so this weekend I'm looking at giving a number of players an opportunity to put their hand up for selection for next year," Robinson said. "This weekend we have to put together an 80 minutes performance and build on the positive parts of our games that we showed in the last 30 minutes against South Africa and the second half against New Zealand.
"International rugby is about pressure and it's important that you convert your pressure into points and when you are under pressure that you are able to absorb it as opposed to conceding points as cheaply as we have done."
Stuart Hogg, Sean Lamont, Max Evans, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw, Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Scott Lawson, Euan Murray, Richie Gray, Alastair Kellock, Alasdair Strokosch, Kelly Brown, David Denton
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Kyle Trainor, Geoff Cross, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Rory Lawson, Tom Heathcote, Nick de Luca
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column