Scots select 2 playmakers for rugby test against Argentina
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Scotland will experiment by fielding two playmakers in a rugby international against Argentina on Saturday in a test run ahead of the Six Nations.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend selected Adam Hastings at flyhalf and moved regular No. 10 Finn Russell to inside center in a side featuring eight changes to the one that started the 26-20 loss to South Africa on Saturday.
Townsend tried the partnership briefly toward the end of the 54-17 win over Fiji on Nov. 10 and saw it pay off when Russell set up Hastings for his first try for Scotland.
“If this had been a Six Nations game, it might not have been the selection we put out there,” Townsend said of his decision to start both Russell and Hastings, “but if they go well, it could be the selection we put out there for a Six Nations game.”
Russell might have to curb his flamboyant approach now that he has dropped back a slot, although Townsend said he wanted to see him retain his offloading game as a ball-carrier out wide.
“He’s obviously got to defend differently, he’s got to carry ball as second receiver,” Townsend said. “We want him getting as many touches as first receiver as he can.”
The Scots will have a new front row of Allan Dell, Fraser Brown and Simon Berghan, while lock Grant Gilchrist is recalled to a much-changed pack that includes flanker Jamie Ritchie and No. 8 Josh Strauss.
Fullback Stuart Hogg had been an injury doubt but has been declared fit to start. Blair Kinghorn, usually a fullback, will play on the right wing.
Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Finn Russell, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Greig Laidlaw (captain); Josh Strauss, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Simon Berghan, Fraser Brown, Allan Dell. Reserves: Stuart McInally, Alex Allan, Willem Nel, Sam Skinner, Ryan Wilson, George Horne, Alex Dunbar, Byron McGuigan.