Argentina v Scotland: Ollie Smith to debut as Gregor Townsend rings the changes

Hamish Watson takes over captaincy while Zander Fagerson to bring up half century of caps

Ollie Smith will make his Scotland debut at full-back against Argentina on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ollie Smith will make his Scotland debut at full-back against Argentina on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

OLLIE SMITH will make his international debut in the third and deciding Test of Scotland’s summer series against Argentina at The Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades in Santiago Del Estero on Saturday night. The 21-year-old comes in at full-back for the injured Rory Hutchinson, as one of eight changes head coach Gregor Townsend has made to his starting XV following last weekend’s series-levelling win over the Pumas in Salta.

Elsewhere in the backline, Rufus McLean comes in on the wing for his third cap in place of the concussed Darcy Graham, Sione Tuipulotu replaces Sam Johnson at inside-centre, and Ali Price returns at scrum-half with Ben White dropping out the squad altogether following last weekend’s impressive first start in a Scotland jersey.

In the pack, loose-head prop Rory Sutherland, hooker Ewan Ashman, and second-rows Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray have been added to the side. The back-row is unchanged, and with Grant Gilchrist not involved this week, Hamish Watson has taken over captaincy of the team. This will be Zander Fagerson‘s 50th cap.


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On the bench, Edinburgh second-row Glen Young is in line for a first cap, while George Horne will get his first involvement in the series as back-up to Price.

Meanwhile, Michael Chieka has made 11 changes to his starting XV including Lautaro Bazán Vélez coming in for his debut at scrum-half, just three months after switching back to fifteens from the Los Pumas 7’s squad. Edinburgh’s Emiliano Boffelli shifts from full-back to win.

 

Scotland (v Argentina at Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago Del Estero, on Saturday @ 8.10pm): O Smith; R McLean, M Bennett, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, A Price; R Sutherland, E Ashman, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, J Gray, R Darge, H Watson©, M Fagerson.

Replacements: D Cherry, P Schoeman, J Sebastian, G Young, A Christie, G Thompson, R Thompson, S Johnson.

 

Argentina: J Mallia; B Delguy, M Orlando, M Moroni, E Boffelli; S Carreras, L Bazan Velez; T Gallo, A Creevy, J Sclavi, G Petti, T Lavanni, P Matera©, S Grondona, F Isa.

Replacements: I Ruiz, N Tetez Chaparro, F Gomez Kodela, M Kremer, J Gonzalez, G Bertanou, T Albornoz, L Cinti.


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About David Barnes 3043 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

20 Comments

  1. Yet another crazed selection from Townsend. Just seen Ireland demolish the ABs with a team that oozes continuity and confidence. What must the likes of Skinner feel. Great player and a leader on the field. Has he ever had two starts in a row for Scotland? Winning regularly is the tonic that Scotland need – not this ever changing selection. The only continuity we have is Townsend – say no more.

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  2. I have no issue with experimentation in a structured and logical manner especially in areas where we are weak and a summer tour is no doubt the time to do it. But there is always a feeling that Townsends experimentation is somewhat haphazard and dogmatic. Examples of this are Tuipolotu who has had a few games and failed to impress yet Hutchinson who continues to shine in England is given no opportunity at 12. Again Kinghorn has had multiple opportunities why not give Thompson a chance to start. We know what Price can do why bin White after an excellent performance last week.

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  3. For all the criticism of the age grade programme, I find it interesting that for this game we have 4 starters – Ollie Smith, Rufus McLean, Ewan Ashman and Rory Darge – who all played Scotland U20s last game just before lockdown. Scotland beat Wales that day comprehensively. Matt Currie played that day as well and was with Scotland in Chile. Cameron Henderson, Gregor Brown and Connor Boyle all played and are full professionals now and Jacob Henry is going to the Commonwealth Games with the 7s squad. It is the run of games immediately after that game that have yielded 14 losses in a row, but among those who have played in that losing run are Patrick Harrison, Alex Samuel, Max Williamson, Ben Muncaster, and Ollie Leatherbarrow. I don’t think it will be too long before all or most of those join the ranks of internationalists.

  4. It’s a bold shout from the coach. He’s effectively saying his squad is strong enough to win the series no matter what Argentina do to remedy their abysmal performance last week.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the direct approach that was so effective on the second half stays in this week’s Scotland team’s DNA.

    Great if it works – I hope the players are cohesive and mentally robust enough to deliver. It’s such a stark contrast to Ireland’s settled approach. We’ll see. It’s now or never for this squad, and coach, to find match-winning consistency.

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  5. Some of the changes are admittedly enforced by injury, but some are entirely self-inflicted. Looking back at the original touring party we could have seen: 9 White,
    10 Hastings, 11 VDM, 12 Hutchinson, 13 Bennett, 14 Graham, 15 Jones. On its return, we could have added Russell, Hogg and Harris – and then we’d have been going somewhere. Unsettled selection means unsettled performance – and the coach is doing nothing to ease his predicament. White and Johnson must feel particularly hard done by, while Tuipulotu is for anyone with eyes to see a poor substitute for the latter.

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    • Tuipulotu has much to prove, perhaps suffered by playing for a free falling Glasgow but still to be convinced, I certainly think 13 (rather than 12) is his position

    • Sonsie hello sir!! I havent seen you post on PR for a while, not been on much myself either.

      Your post is spot on sir, the Toonie Tombola rumbles on. Most coaches believe that ‘continuity is key’ but not GT, he views the test arena as one big experimentation playground. I am also in agreement with your comment on Tuipulotu, dont see how he gets so much test time as in my eyes still has more to prove at Glasgow. Great to see Bennett getting an extended run, but the sad thing is he could score 5 tries tomorrow and yet probably knows himself he will be jettisoned right back out the side once Chris solid dependable good in defence but cant attack to save himself Harris is back in the mix….oh well! Oh and the Kinghorn at 10 experiment, deary me. Another miserable failure waiting to fall apart in spectacular fashion in the heat of a 2023 six nations game !

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      • I can see where you are coming from Addiemeister – but only to an extent. Surely being away from the 6Nations IS the time to experiment. When else is he going to test the next wave of players in a competitive situation ie not just fannying around at Oriam? I’m sure like most things there’s a balance to be struck of continuity against succession planning

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      • High Flier – but several of these changes have nothing to do with finding the next wave. Gray, Cummings and Price have come in for players who did extremely well last week. They’re all established internationals. I doubt we’ll learn anything new about them.

        I think we need to focus on building a winning team with a clear sense of identity, on-field leadership and style of play. Then when youngsters need to come in to replace the old and the injured, they come into a winning environment where everyone around them knows their roles

  6. Something doesn’t add up here, or maybe it does. 11 changes for the Pumas, 8 for Scotland, have Chieka and Townsend cooked this up between them? Neither selection suggests a determination to win the test series. Don’t know about everyone else but I’m feeling a bit short-changed.

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    • Pumas have had a bit of an injury crisis – 5 in the last game alone and more from the first test. The pack they’ve put out is still packed with experience – Matera, Isa, Petti, Lavanini, Creevy are all top players. Even their backs boast a lot of class like Delguy, Orlando, Moroni, Boffelli. Carreras is inexperienced but was good last week. So they are clearly weakened, especially in the half backs but I don’t think it’s from anything but bad luck really.

  7. Interesting Smith and McLean included. Not sure about Sutherland or Gray and he is still sticking with Kinghorn not sure why. Is it to keep pressure in Finn, not sure why. However if we win we’ll take it.

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  8. Townsend has to change the centre partnership to give them experience………………………….. of their flyhalf throwing passes everywhere but where they can catch them!

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  9. Clearly the best way to ensure being dropped by GT is to play a stormer. Are we playing ‘kids everyone needs a game’ or trying to win a series? Put Kinghorn at 15 and give Thompson a chance. Keep white after his stormer last week and give Bennett and Johnson a chance to form a true centre partnership. Skinner added another dimension at lock and doesn’t make the 23 – Schoeman has played a lot of rugby and maybe needs a rest. At least the scrum back 3 get another chance. Baffling selections. I had England and Scotland as winners this weekend now leaning to England only

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  10. Fail to see the logic, why not build on a strong performance from last week rather than expose the team to a major reaction from Argentina. You build on confidence through winning not weakening the team through these changes. Toony tombola strikes again

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  11. Can’t help but feel Townsend has again got the balance between continuity and experimentation wrong. Last week White was superb at 9, Gilchrist played well and captained brilliantly (best leadership since Barclay in my opinion), and Johnson-Bennett really started to gel as a centre partnership. Maybe some players are carrying injuries etc. but from a distance I’d rather see all these players given more time in the saddle. Bennett being retained is a positive.

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  12. On Ben White, talking point is Price having to be there or not. Horne deserves time, it’s whether White should get chance to back up stormer last week. Strong case for it especially simulating potential WC scenario. Similar to JVP going from MOTM to benching for Care.

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  13. Yet another WTF moment at release of Team time.
    GT a complex character.
    Looks to me a get everyone game time rather than let’s win this series.
    What must Ben White think, excellent last week, in the stand this week.
    Still……….. big strong team, hoping to get DVDM in space this week.

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