New recruit Laidlaw named to skipper Scotland against USA
6 June 2014 11:02am
By Tom Burrows
Greig Laidlaw captains the Scots
New summer signing Greig Laidlaw has been named as Scotland captain for the upcoming international against the USA Eagles in Houston on Sunday, in new Head Coach Vern Cotter's first game in charge.
Head coach Vern Cotter has named three debutants in his first Scotland selection for this Saturday's summer Test match against USA in Houston, Texas (7 June, kick-off 7.30pm local time, 1.30am BST)
Glasgow Warriors pair Gordon Reid (prop) and Finn Russell (stand-off), and London Irish back-row, Blair Cowan, will start their first international outing at the BBVA Compass Stadium, while prop Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) and scrum-half Grayson Hart (Edinburgh Rugby) could debut from the bench.
Reid, an unused replacement in the 2012 Autumn Test match against Tonga, will keep experienced company in the forwards, starting alongside Scott Lawson (hooker) and Geoff Cross (prop), and familiar locking duo Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton.
Cowan is joined in the back-row by Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) and number 8 Johnnie Beattie (Castres), the latter starting his first match since injuring his ankle in the RBS 6 Nations match against France in March.
In the backs, 21 year-old Russell will be accompanied by scrum-half and captain, Greig Laidlaw, who will share the responsibility of orchestrating a physical midfield partnership of Duncan Taylor and Sean Lamont, and a dynamic back-three trio of Tim Visser, Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg.
Scotland Head Coach said; "There's a lot of excitement of excitement within the team leading into this Test. There are players who are going to earn their first cap for Scotland, and there are those who see this as a chance to stake a claim for the Rugby World Cup squad in 2015.
"There are only a certain number of opportunities remaining for players to express and prove themselves."
Scotland team to face USA at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas.
(Kick off 7.30pm Local Time, 1.30am BST)
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)
14. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors)
13. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
12. Duncan Taylor (Saracens)
11. Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby)
10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors)
9. Greig Laidlaw (C) (Gloucester Rugby)
1. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors)
2. Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons)
3. Geoff Cross (London Irish)
4. Richie Gray (Castres Olympique)
5. Jim Hamilton (Saracens)
6. Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan)
7. Blair Cowan (London Irish)
8. Johnnie Beattie (Castres Olympique)
16. Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors)
17. Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors)
18. Moray Low (Exeter Chiefs)
19. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby)
20. Kieran Low (London Irish)
21. Grayson Hart (Edinburgh Rugby)
22. Ruaridh Jackson (London Wasps)
23. Max Evans (Castres Olympique)
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.