Scotland v USA: Preview

Gregor Townsend’s team to face the USA was named on Wednesday, with injuries forcing some changes and a number of last week’s debutants being handed their second caps. Erin McRitchie analyses the chosen 23 and what they should expect from the Americans.

(From left to right) Pete Horne, Matt Fagerson, George Horne and Zander Fagerson will become a part of Scottish Rugby history when they line up together against the USA this weekend (Photo from Scottish Rugby)

The ‘next generation’ to make a little history

Last week, against Canada, four young players were handed their first international caps and Townsend has placed his trust in a number of them once again. Lewis Carmichael and Adam Hastings are this week boosted from the bench to the starting 15.

Carmichael starts at lock, pairing with Edinburgh teammate Ben Toolis, whilst Hastings starts at fly half with his Glasgow teammate George Home – on his debut – starting at scrum half to form the half back duo.

Another Warriors player being handed their first international cap is back-row Matt Fagerson, who starts at number 8 alongside Tim Swinson and Luke Hamilton on the flanks of the scrum.

As if this were not enough, Horne and Fagerson will be a part of another piece of history as their respective brothers Pete and Zander join them in the starting 15 – meaning they become the 48th and 49th set of brothers to play for Scotland.

Townsend’s view on the 12 changes made

Head Coach Townsend told the media: “We always planned to play as much of the squad as possible on this tour and we also deliberately picked more Edinburgh players in the first game because their season finished earlier.

“Now we welcome most of the Glasgow Warriors contingent into the team. On top of that, there are seven players making their first starts for the country, which is really exciting, and we are looking forward to them going out and grabbing this opportunity.”

Townsend’s 12 changes sees more Glasgow Warriors come in to the fold to face the USA (Photo from Scottish Rugby)

Their American opponents

The American rugby union team – despite some issues in the boardroom – is one which has been under development as of late. They have won their last six games, and have seemed determined to not only win, but to score as much as they can in the process.

Townsend recognised this, saying: “They are definitely improving as a team and are playing with a lot of confidence.

“You can see in the way they attack and defend that they are well coached, added to which there are some exceptional individuals that offer running threats throughout their side, so this will be a real test for us on Saturday.”

Scottish weather follows the boys stateside

Another opponent that the Scottish team may find themselves up against, is the weather in Houston, Texas. As if the weather reports for the coming week were not enough, some of the videos players have been sharing on their social media is a definite indicator of how bad some of the fleeting storms have been.

The distinct difference between the thunder and lightning they have been receiving – in comparison to the UK – is that the heat there is still consistently in the low 30s.

So, all that is left to do is cross our fingers that the only thing that is thunderous come game time is the tackles being put in. But, if the storms do roll in – good luck to them attempting to play in it.

 

Scotland v USA kicks off at 2am BST this Sunday (17th June) on BBC.

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