Hawick’s Stuart Hogg to pick up 87th Scotland rugby cap against South Africa

Hawick’s Stuart Hogg is to carry on as captain of the Scottish national rugby team against South Africa this weekend.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 6:01 pm
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg after his side's victory against Australia at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium on Sunday (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That will be his 87th cap, making the 29-year-old Scotland’s joint fourth most-capped player ever, along with East Lothian-born lock Scott Murray.

Two of the three players with more caps to their name than Hogg are fellow Borderers – Kelso’s Ross Ford, in pole position with 110 between 2004 and 2017, and Chris Paterson, of Galashiels, in second place with 109 between 1999 and 2011.

In third place is Perth-born Sean Lamont, capped 105 times between 2004 and 2016.

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Melrose's Rufus McLean playing for Scotland against Tonga at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium at the end of last month (Photo by Neil Hanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Hogg has already played South Africa twice this year on the British and Irish Lions’ tour there in July and August, being on the winning side once, 22-17 in Cape Town, and on the losing side second time round, by 27-9 a week later at the same stadium.

Head coach Gregor Townsend, the multinational side’s attack coach for that tour, has picked a new-look side to play the world champions at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield this Saturday, with kick-off at 1pm.

There are four changes to the starting XV that beat Australia 15-13 on Sunday, including Hawick’s Darcy Graham being dropped, and two to the replacements’ bench, along with a positional change in the pack.

Leicester Tigers centre Matt Scott gets his first Scotland start since he played against Italy in Singapore in June 2017, ex-Gala star Townsend’s first match as gaffer.

That will be Fifer Scott’s 40th Scotland cap, and he will partner Gloucester’s Chris Harris.

Glasgow Warriors’ Rufus McLean, born in Massachusetts but brought up in Melrose, starts on the wing following his double-try-scoring debut against Tonga earlier in the Scots’ 2021 autumn nations series, with Worcester Warriors’ Duhan van der Merwe completing the back three.

Half-back pairing Finn Russell, also named as a vice-captain, and Ali Price both start following their strong showings against Australia.

Edinburgh’s Nick Haining comes into the starting back-row on the blindside flank as clubmate and vice-captain Jamie Ritchie moves to the openside. Glasgow Warriors’ Matt Fagerson continues at number eight.

Hamish Watson moves into the replacements.

There’s a return to the front-row for Edinburgh’s Stuart McInally at hooker and he packs down with Glasgow Warrior Zander Fagerson and Edinburgh’s Pierre Schoeman, getting his third start at loosehead prop.

Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist and Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Skinner continue their second-row partnership.

Townsend, 48, said: “Sunday’s result against Australia was another positive step in the evolution of this team, but there is more to come from this group, and we’ll have to raise our level of performance on Saturday against the world champions.

“We know what to expect from the Springboks in how they play and the physicality they will bring across the team.

“We have therefore selected a side that we believe can both meet that challenge and give us the platform to impose our game on the opposition.

“It should be a full-blooded contest and will require an intensity and focus across our 23-man squad for the full 80 minutes.

“As a playing and coaching group, we took a huge amount of energy from the crowd at Murrayfield through their outstanding support against Australia.

“We can’t wait to get back out in front of our people again this weekend.”

Saturday’s game is being screened live on Amazon Prime.

The Scots’ replacements, besides Watson, are Ewan Ashman, Jamie Bhatti, Oli Kebble, Jamie Hodgson, George Horne, Adam Hastings and Blair Kinghorn.

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