SCOTLAND are set to make at least two changes in midfield from the team which started against Fiji last weekend ahead of Sunday’s clash against New Zealand, with stand-off Adam Hastings ruled out on Monday through injury and inside-centre Cam Redpath being released today [Thursday] to his club Bath this weekend.
Redpath will start tomorrow night’s match against Leicester Tigers on the bench, alongside back-row Josh Bayliss, who has also been released by Scotland having not featured yet in the match-day squad during this Autumn Test Series.
An intriguing selection of potential midfield line-ups is now on the cards. The most likely selection, which will be announced tomorrow afternoon, is for either the recalled Finn Russell or Blair Kinghorn to start at No 10 with Sione Tuipulotu wearing No 12 as he did against Fiji a fortnight ago.
There has been speculation that head coach Gregor Townsend might throw his most audacious selection curve-ball yet by selecting both Russell and Kinghorn together at Nos 10 and 12, but that would be a reckless gamble against a team of New Zealand’s calibre given both players’ lack of experience at inside-centre and the very little time Russell has had to prepare with the squad since his arrival in camp on Tuesday.
Uncapped Stafford McDowall is the other recognised inside-centre in Scotland’s current Autumn Test Series training squad.
Asked yesterday about the prospect of Russell and Kinghorn teaming-up together in midfield, Scotland assistant coach AB Zondagh said: “I think Finn and Blair have a really good relationship. They feed well off each other off the field, they help each other out, so in terms of Blair’s performance or how he feels about it, I think he’s happy to have Finn back in the squad too.
“I think it’s really difficult to say if they will play together or not. It all depends on what happens in the game.
“You can’t predict injuries or tactical subs. But I think it would be exciting, personally, if both of them were on the field at the same time.”