Scotland’s four Borders-linked players all retain their places in the squad for tomorrow’s (Saturday) Autumn Test against the mighty New Zealand at BT Murrayfield.
The local stars all made a significant contribution to Scotland’s opening match of the seasonal series last weekend, against Samoa, but face an even more formidable test against the back-to-back world champions.
Ex-Hawick player, and two-time British and Irish Lion, Stuart Hogg starts again at full-back, having scored his 17th Scotland try (very early on) against the Samoans. Fellow Lion Tommy Seymour and Selkirk lad Lee Jones complete the back three.
Hogg also helped set up Huw Jones for a try against Samoa, while Jones, noted as a sevens specialist but who returned to the full XV for the sixth time, played a highly visible role on the wing and also provided the assist for a try scored by former Selkirk player, Alex Dunbar.
Dunbar is back at centre for the Scots, while loose-head prop Jamie Bhatti, of Melrose/Glasgow, who came on the second half against the Polynesians to win his first cap, is named once again among the replacements.
The Scots won last week’s game 44-38 but the performance also pointed up a number of areas needing improvement which, said head coach Gregor Townsend, were being worked on in training during the week.
Playing against New Zealand was one of the biggest challenges in sport and one which Scotland’s players relished, he said.
The teams last played each other at Murrayfield in 2014, with the All Blacks winning 24-16.
Tomorrow’s encounter kicks off at 5.15pm.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Ali Price (all Glasgow); Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally (both Edinburgh), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), John Barclay (captain - Scarlets), Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez (both Edinburgh). Replacements: George Turner (Glasgow), Jamie Bhatti (Melrose/ Glasgow), Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist (both Edinburgh), Luke Hamilton Leicester), Henry Pyrgos, Pete Horne (both Glasgow), Byron McGuigan (Sale).