SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has named Luke Crosbie as starting openside flanker for Saturday night’s summer tour Test Series opener against Argentina in JuJuy. The Edinburgh man, who captained the side in last weekend’s non-cap match against Chile, gets the nod ahead of Rory Darge, who is on the bench, with Magnus Bradbury and Matt Fagerson taking on the other two back-row slots.
Flanker Hamish Watson (who has a minor knock in the chest/shoulder area but is expected to come back into the frame next week), fellow back-row Andy Chrystie and winger Kyle Rowe are the only three players from the 39-strong squad which flew out to South America last week who have not featured in the match-day squad for either the Chile or this match.
Meanwhile, it is the same starting front-five as was sent out against Ireland in the final game of Scotland’s Six Nations campaign, with Grant Gilchrist skippering the side.
The No 15 jersey has been handed to Northampton Saints utility-back Rory Hutchinson, while Mark Bennett gets the nod at outside centre ahead of Sione Tuipulotu (who is a substitute).
Ewan Ashman will cover hooker from the bench, with Rory Sutherland – who was a tourist with the Lions last summer but has had an injury-ravaged 2021-22 season – covering loose-head prop and Javan Sebastian back-up tight-head. Sam Skinner, who joins Edinburgh Rugby for the new season, is also selected as a replacement.
London Irish scrum-half Ben White is included as replacement scrum-half, with fellow half-back Ross Thompson also named on the bench.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Emiliano Boffelli will line up against seven of his team-mates tomorrow, including Darcy Graham as his direct opponent, after being named on the left wing in the Argentina.
London Irish hooker Agustin Creevy, who was sent off against Edinburgh in the Challenge Cup back in January, is on the bench for what will be Michael Cheika’s first match as head coach of the Pumas. Cheika, who coached his native Australia for five years from 2014, said after announcing his matchday squad yesterday that he expected Scotland to play a fast game with a lot of emphasis on the counter-attack.
“Scotland have a clear way of playing the game, what they want to create,” he said. “They’re very good attacking the ball on the ground; they’re very good with their counter-attack. They play with a fast tempo – lots of quick lineouts. And they’ve got a good kicking game as well.
“There might be some different players in there, but it will be the same type of game: high tempo, lots of counter-attack. We’ll have to work hard in defence.”
The match will be Argentina’s first home international since they lost 46-13 to South Africa in Salta in August 2019.
Scotland (v Argentina at Estadio 23 de Agosto, JuJuy, on Saturday @ 8.10pm): R Hutchinson; D Graham, M Bennett, S Johnson, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, A Price (VC); P Schoeman, G Turner, Z Fagerson, G Gilchrist©, J Gray, M Bradbury, L Crosbie, M Fagerson.
Replacements: E Ashman, R Sutherland, J Sebastian, S Skinner, R Darge, B White, R Thompson, S Tuipulotu.
Argentina: JC Mallia; S Cordero, M Orlando, J de la Fuente, E Boffelli; N Sanchez, T Cubelli; N Tetaz Chaparro, J Montoya©, F Gomez Kodela, G Petti, M Alemanno, JM Gonzalez Samso, M Kremer, P Matera.
Replacements: A Creevy, M Vivas, J Sclavi, L Paulos, F Isa, G Bertranou, S Carreras, M Moroni.