Autumn Test: Scotland v New ZealandVenue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday 18 November Kick-off: 17:15 GMTCoverage: BBC Two, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app & Radio Scotland 810MW
Gregor Townsend has made two injury-enforced changes to his Scotland line-up for Saturday’s autumn Test meeting with New Zealand at Murrayfield.
Prop Zander Fagerson replaces WP Nel, who in the with Simon Berghan on the bench.
Cornell du Preez makes his first Test start at number eight in place of Ryan Wilson, who has a shoulder injury.
Back-row Luke Hamilton and utility back Byron McGuigan could make their Scotland debuts from the bench.
Wing Tommy Seymour has overcome a toe injury to retain his place in the starting XV.
Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks in their 30 previous encounters, dating back to 1905. They have drawn twice, 0-0 in 1964 and 25-25 in 1983.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen will name his line-up later on Thursday, as the back-to-back world champions look to earn the third victory of their northern hemisphere tour.
Two-time British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg starts at full-back, having scored his 17th Scotland try against the Samoans, with fellow Lion Seymour and Lee Jones competing the back three.
Huw Jones will look to add to his five-try international haul in his 10th cap, as he partners Alex Dunbar in the centres.
Half-backs Finn Russell and Ali Price complete an all-Glasgow backline for the second week in a row.
Prop Darryl Marfo’s rapid rise to international honours continues, as the Edinburgh loose-head lines up against the All Blacks just five months after being without a club.
Scotland prop Zander Fagerson on facing New Zealand”You grow up watching the All Blacks – I remember playing Jonah Lomu 2011 on the Play Station, you’d give it to him and he’d hand off everyone and score.”I’ve played against the All Blacks Under-20s a few times – it’d be a privilege [to play] and I’m looking forward to it.”
Last weekend’s man-of-the-match Stuart McInally and 21-year-old Fagerson complete the front row, with Ben Toolis and Jonny Gray named again in the second row.
John Barclay, who is from next season, captains Scotland for the eighth time from the blind-side flank, and with 64 caps, is the most experienced member of the squad.
Hamish Watson continues on the open-side flank, with Edinburgh team-mate Du Preez, 26, starting his first Test – on the occasion of his fourth cap – at number eight, after Wilson failed to overcame a shoulder problem.
Meanwhile, Berghan joins hooker George Turner and loose-head Jamie Bhatti as the front-row substitutes, with Grant Gilchrist the replacement lock.
Leicester Tigers back-row Hamilton, 25, is poised to win his first Scotland cap from the bench, as is Sale Sharks back McGuigan, 28, who replaces Chris Harris.
The former Warrior has scored six tries in six Premiership appearances for the Sharks this season.
Glasgow half-backs Henry Pyrgos and Peter Horne complete the substitutes.
“The players are looking forward to getting back out on the pitch after last weekend’s high-scoring match against Samoa, which highlighted a few areas we’ve sought to improve this week at training,” head coach Townsend said.
“The task of facing New Zealand is one of the biggest challenges in sport and one that our players relish. They have been in brilliant form this season and continue to set very high standards whenever they play.”
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Ali Price (all Glasgow); Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally (both Edinburgh), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), John Barclay (captain – Scarlets), Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez (both Edinburgh).
Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti (both Glasgow), Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist (both Edinburgh), Luke Hamilton Leicester), Henry Pyrgos, Pete Horne (both Glasgow), Byron McGuigan (Sale).
“This is a remarkable turnaround for Cornell du Preez, who’s now parachuted into the Scotland team from the start for the first time in place of the injured Ryan Wilson.
“Du Preez has three caps and none of them have been memorable. He was decidedly unimpressive in a failing Edinburgh team for much of last season, his work-rate questionable, his influence far lower than he is capable of.
“This season – particularly in recent weeks – his level has increased considerably. There’s a fine footballer in there, but has he got the engine for this kind of Test? Gregor Townsend has given him a huge chance to show he’s capable of it.
“Some interesting customers on the bench – Luke Hamilton, the versatile Tiger, and Byron McGuigan, the free-scoring Shark, could well make their debut.
“It’s a desperately inexperienced bench. Two uncapped men, two more with just one cap to their name and then Simon Berghan with just three Tests. Exciting, but worrying.”
Scotland’s autumn internationalsSaturday, 11 NovemberSaturday, 18 November (17:15 GMT)Scotland v New ZealandSaturday, 25 November (14:30 GMT)Scotland v Australia