STUART McINALLY will make his first appearance on Scotland’s summer tour through the Americas in their final game against Argentina at the Estadio Centenario in Resistencia on Saturday. The hooker, who was named captain of the squad before departure, missed the first two matches against the USA and Canada with a calf strain, but has recovered in time to claim the number two jersey against the Pumas.
He is one of seven new faces in the starting pack named by head coach Gregor Townsend, with Tim Swinson the only forward to be retained after last weekend’s loss to the USA – switching from the back-row as a second-row this time round.
Loose-head Allan Dell and tight-head Simon Berghan join McInally to form an all-Edinburgh front-row, while clubmate and tour vice-captain Grant Gilchrist replaces Ben Toolis in the engine-room.
Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown takes on the number seven jersey, in a back-row which also includes Magnus Bradbury and David Denton.
It will be the third time that Brown has operated at open-side flanker for his country, having twice featured off the bench in the role for Scotland against USA, last weekend and in Rugby World Cup 2015.
The only change to the backs sees Edinburgh wing Dougie Fife rewarded for his try-scoring exploits off the bench to make his first Scotland start since 2015 in the wing.
The team is completed by an all Glasgow Warriors midfield of Pete Horne and Nick Grigg in the centre, Adam Hastings at stand-off and George Horne at scrum-half.
“The players have responded well in training this week with focus, effort and accuracy. This is our last Test of the tour and we’re determined to finish on a high,” said Townsned.
“With the majority of the squad involved in two Tests, we believe that we’ll be in a much better position in the future, having exposed more players to Test-level rugby, for the season ahead and beyond.
“We’ve learned a lot on this tour about this group of players. Now we have to use that learning to put in a very good performance to beat Argentina on their home patch.
“We’re looking forward to a passionate atmosphere in a football stadium with the crowd very close to the pitch.
“Argentina will bring their passion and physicality where they have traditionally been strong – set piece, ball carrying and in the contact area.
“They also have a host of excellent attacking players, and the last few seasons have seen a much more expansive brand of rugby since joining the Rugby Championship and, more recently, the performances of Jaguares in Super Rugby.”
Scotland and Argentina and have met 16 times in their history, with the Scot’s record standing at won seven, lost nine.
Excluding the two matches on neutral grounds (Rugby World Cup 2007 and 2011), the head-to-head count over 14 Tests is split evenly at seven apiece. Momentum stands in the favour of the Scots, however, who have won the last three meetings between the sides in Cordoba (2014) and Edinburgh (2014 and 2016).
Scotland team (to face Argentina at the Estadio Centenario, Resistencia – kick-off 4.40pm, 8.40pm UK time – live on Channel 4) –
15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 61 caps
14. Dougie Fife (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
9. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 9 caps
4. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
7. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps
8. David Denton (Leicester Tigers) – 41 caps
16. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
20. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets) – 11 caps
22. James Lang (Harlequins) – 1 cap
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 3 caps