Scotland v Fiji: six changes for hosts with Adam Hastings starting at 10

Cam Redpath, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray and George Turner also added to starting XV

Adam Hastings will start at stand-off for Scotland versus Fiji on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson -
Adam Hastings will start at stand-off for Scotland versus Fiji on Saturday. Image: © Craig Watson -

SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to the side he sent out against Australia last weekend ahead of Saturday’s clash against Fiji at Murrayfield.

Four exile players who were not available for the Wallabies Test are added straight into the starting backline with Adam Hastings replacing the benched Blair Kinghorn at stand-off, Cam Redpath and Chris Harris forming an all-new centre partnership, and Stuart Hogg coming in at full-back.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors duo Richie Gray and George Turner have replaced injured Edinburgh pair Sam Skinner and Dave Cherry in the second-row and at hooker respectively.

Talented teenagers bring Fijian flair to GHA’s Premiership campaign

Scotland v Fiji: Not-So-Stern Vern Cotter embraces return to old stomping ground

Schools/Youth rugby round-up: Watson’s go top of Schools’ National One Conference

Skinner dropped out of the squad with a foot injury earlier this week while Cherry’s unavailability with a hamstring issue was revealed an hour before the team was announced this [Thursday] afternoon. Fraser Brown has been added to the training squad but won’t feature on Saturday as Ewan Ashman has been named as the back-up hooker.

Glasgow Warriors tight-head prop Murphy Walker will make his Scotland debut if called upon off the bench. While four more exile players who were not available last week are named as replacements in the shape of hooker Ashman, loose-head prop Rory Sutherland, second-row Jonny Gray and scrum-half Ben White. 

Back-row Jack Dempsey, Kinghorn and utility-back Sione Tuipulotu are the other back replacements.


Scotland (v Fiji at Murrayfield, Saturday @ 1pm): S Hogg; D Graham, C Harris (VC), C Redpath, D van der Merwe; A Hastings, A Price ; P Schoeman, G Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, G Gilchrist (VC), J Ritchie©, H Watson, M Fagerson. Substitutes: E Ashman, R Sutherland, M Walker, J Gray, J Dempsey, B White, B Kinghorn, S Tuipulotu.

Fiji: K Murimurivalu; S Tuicuvu, W Nayacalevu, K Ravouvou, V Habosi; V Botitu, F Lomani; E Mawi, S Matavesi, M Saulo, T Mayanavanua, R Rotuisolia, A Tuisue, L Botia, V Mata. Substitutes: T Ikanivere, L Natave, L Tagi, A Ratuniyara, K Kamikmaica, P Matawalu, T Tela, S Maqala.

Scotland v Fiji: Not-So-Stern Vern Cotter embraces return to old stomping ground

About David Barnes 3532 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.


  1. Keith Russell won his case in June 2018. The SRU bonuses came out on Wednesday 15 January 2020 in a blaze of adverse publicity with allegations of attempted cover-up. Finn duly turned up for International duty the following Sunday.

  2. Can’t grumble too much, though I’d prefer Horne at 9 and am slightly wary of Harris’ passing, but his defensive strength is unquestionable. The one inclusion that raises my eyebrows is Murphy Walker. I’ve not seen much of him and, from Townsend’s comments on the team selection, neither has anyone else. Is his place justified?

    I hope Turner’s been working on his throwing in.

  3. A better team this week round but i cant help feeling a sense of disappointment still, this russell hangover will take more than a win against Fiji to subside. as a rugby fan, you can take results not going our way, players out of form, kicks going wide of the mark but what for me still looms is the feeling we have been lied to by townsend, or at least fobbed off with a “based on form” excuse that anyone who keeps a half eye on rugby can see right through. say what you like about eddie jones, but if he left a player out he would tell the press exactly why he did it. its part and parcel of the whole fantasy mindset that surrounds the SRU at the moment, last 6 nations after some dreadful losses we had to put up with Hogg saying he thought we were the better team, dodson and his almighty pay check pretending to care about growth and development, townsend throwing a smoke screen with “form” written on it – all of this is the ingredients for the cocktail labelled “mediocre amateur martini”. we deserve better than this, loyal through every era of Scottish Rugby, spending our hard earned coin to support the union. it seems to me that the ship has sailed for Russell under townsends reign and FR is standing on the pier with a beret on, delighted that its drier we his feet are. with all the moaning aside ill be still be supporting the boys on sat. as we all will and always have. wouldn’t it be nice if one day we got our rewards. Interesting to see cotter at Murrayfeild on Saturday, in my opinion in the wrong coaches box but hey, dodson drives a jag and Russells out of form…

    enjoy the game everyone. “AsOne”

  4. Fiji have had about 3 training sessions and are missing their 10, who forgot his passport!
    If we can not beat Fiji on Saturday then the wheels will not have just come off the wagon, the wagon will also be ablaze.
    With Hastings and Redpath starting at least we should
    A) be able to get points on the scoreboard through penalty kicks.
    B) be able to get the wingers and FB onto the ball more effectively than last week

    • Fiji aren’t missing their 10, Teti Tela, who is on the bench but has been supplanted by the extremely highly rated utility back Vilimoni Botitu, who normally plays 12 for Castres.

      Fiji typically don’t get much prep time but they have an exceptionally talented squad, virtually all of whom play rugby in either top level European leagues or super rugby. I don’t think they should be underestimated even if we should expect a win. Last year they really pushed wales hard despite playing most of the game with 14 men – Wales really only clinched the game after a second half YC meant Fiji were down to 13 and then conceded two tries. They are no mugs.

  5. Should be a great match. With on the side line Vern with his 3 from 17 victories against E,I,W,F against Gregor with his 8.5 from 26 games. Gregor to edge it 😊

    • Except Vern picked up a dreadful side going nowhere and really moved them forward. GT picked up a side moving forward and has taken them nowhere. And the Finn episode has also proven him to be a very poor man manager.

      • Agree RobB – Townsend inherited a better side than Vern. Vern got us a whisker away from World Cup semi final in 2015 but for a dodgy refereeing decision. Toony was attack coach when we failed to get out our group in 2011 World Cup. England beat us in the final group game in 2011 but the one we had to win was against Argentina which we lost in typical Scottish fashion. Fast forward to World Cup 2019, now as head coach, we failed to get out our group yet again and had a really terrible World Cup. Group for this World Cup is exceptionally tough yet he continues to tinker with team and leaves out our best player – apparently because he is lacking form wtf

      • Well now RodB – if the “Finn episode has proven” GPJT to be a very poor man manager, would it be correct to view FR as a “very poor man”?

    • What was the improvement (both form and results) of the team when Vern inherited Scotland from Scott Johnson to It being passed onto Gregor over 3 years?

      And what has been the improvement of Gregor Townsends team he has inherited from Vern over the past 5 years?

      The answer to that is why people hold a lot of respect for Vern, and are disappointed by Townsend. We never stopped growing as a team under Vern (at least thats what it felt like). Under Townsend, i feel like we have had a few peaks of great performances but its very inconsistent and the team don’t feel like they are better than in 2018 or 2021. No steady gradual improvement.

      Might just be me but i also don’t know what our identity/style of play is, and i’m not sure Toony does either.

      At least we have more depth, he deserves some credit for that.

    • Townsend has the worst RWC record of any Scotland coach. Ever.

      Why do continue to reward mediocrity?

      • Probably because the true picture is more complex than any skin-deep stats might infer, Ally….?

  6. Just checked out the Fiji team – we should be worried. If and its a big If they get even 80% organised and manage their set piece then they have some wonderful attacking players all round the team. Their back row has Bill Mata, Levani Botia and Albert Tuisue. I think we would pick all 3 of them in our back row if they were Scottish. Their backs have a lot of power and pace. Should be an interesting game but certainly no romp if Verne has got them organised and they hold their discipline.

  7. Thought the backs would be that selection, Townsend he’s getting obvious. He just loves Harris and he is the best defensive 13 we have, just could not see Bennett displacing him.Same with Redpath he is back from injury is playing well for a poor Bath team.Graham and VDM if they get the ball are our best wings at the moment. Hogg needs a game before the AB game. Hastings will play both games to my mind, just not happy with Price think Horne is a better bet at the moment.
    Of the forwards Ritchie is a surprise. Wonder when Dempsey gets on along with Johnny Gray. This should be an interesting game the following week it get’s serious and without Finn way tougher.
    A slight aside the Irish are doing everything they can to keep Sexton fit for the 2023 RWC because they know how important he is to the team , Finn to me is our Sexton, we are a better team with him.

    • Richie Gray’s return to form has been a revelation in his last two games for Glasgow and I guess he is there to fix our line-out misfunction. I am also a fan of Bennett but against the Aussies he and Tuipuloto never once managed to moved along the line to Graham and Van Der Merve where we pose threats. Why not have Kinghorn on the bench where he can cover anywhere in the back line except 9.

      • I like BK as a player, but as a 10 he plays too deep and only takes the ball to the line when he spots a gap – so when the centres get the ball the defence are on top of them – saying that either Redpath/Hutchinson/Dean at 12 would have helped and given more ball for Bennett/Duhan/Darcy. Better balance to todays backline…

      • Agree – hope big Richie can help sort out the line out (particularly looking ahead to next weekend). Yes, also agree that (surprisingly) Bennett never showed much of the sparkling inventive form he’s been in for Edinburgh last week. I’m also a fan of Tuipulotu (maybe it’s our shared Greenock heritage) and he’s been outstanding for Warriors this season. His timing and touch putting Smith through for the first try was wonderful. But he really should take taken the pass and scored out on the right.
        I like Kinghorn and I’d be happy with him anywhere across the back three, but he’s still not the international 10 that we need. His problem is that if Hogg, VdM and Graham are all fit and in form he would find it hard to get a start there. I’d be willing to bet that though (unless Hastings plays out of his mind today – and probably even if he did) it’ll be back to Kinghorn at 10 next weekend. However, if we are going to continue with him at fly half, then it’s just criminal not have have an alternative place kicking option somewhere in the team.
        Which brings us to George Horne – the form Scottish 9 this season by miles, and doing a great job also kicking for Glasgow too, but can’t get a start and not even on the bench this week. That simply doesn’t tally with Townsend’s (somewhat laughable) claim to be picking on form…

  8. Townsend just been on BBC saying he’s not listening to criticism of any kind .I do it my way I trust my judgement he says
    He’s on another planet .
    If I was him I would be worried it comes and bites him on the backside
    Professional sport is brutal .you have get results or you have to fall on your sword .
    .leaving Finn Russell ( who’s on fire )out of entire Scottish Autumn Tests squad is ridiculous
    Townsends actually chasing punters away from Murrayfield but he can’t see that

    • He might just get away with leaving Russell out of the Autumn series but leaving him out of 6N on the form he is in would be ludicrous.

  9. Better team, I’d love to see Finn in there but no issues with Hastings getting a run out who’s also spent some time in the revolving door. Buzzing to see Redpath back in and I’m sure the wingers will get some more ball this week. Decent pack although I’d have had Jonny in (he’s been a rock for Exeter). You can’t take a Vern team lightly but there’s room for a little experimentation so it’ll be interesting to see how Richie goes and if Murphy Walker has got what it takes to step up. Bring on the weekend.

  10. Imagine Richie is in primarily to help the line out. He’s definitely not the player in the loose of a few years ago, but if he can help us make the line out more solid and better on the defensive side he may still have a World Cup left in him….
    Think this is sensible – very hard to win tests against any good team with a failing line out, coughing up pens, and without a reliable kicker as we tried to do last week. Feel if we can ‘fix’ even 2 of those 3 we can be a serious side – and to be fair to Towny this team looks a lot more balanced in those areas.

  11. Sad to see BK dropped after a great performance last weekend and even worse to see young Smith dropped despite his try and good work on the park. Glad to see R Gray, hopefully he can shut up his critics.

  12. Looking forward to seeing Redpath on the warpath once again for Scotland.

    Townsend clearly not putting out a best XV each week- and not interested in bowing to outside pressure.

  13. I feel sorry for Bennett he’s probably our best centre – is he injured? Very odd Richie preferred to Jonny. Should be enough to beat Fiji. I hope the crowd gives a huge cheer for stern Vern who was so shabbily treated by the SRU.

  14. Better team than last week, will be tested in terms of mobility around the park, speaking of Richie Gray that’s digging up a blast from the past. At least 3 years beyond his best but who else is there?


Comments are closed.