Six Nations: Ireland V Scotland

Gregor Townsend has named an experimental side to take on the USA in their second summer tour match.

The Scotland head coach has changed all but three of the starting team to face the Eagles with seven players starting their first test match for the Scots.

Stuart Hogg will captain his country for the first time and Townsend has also named two sets of brothers - the Hornes and the Fagersons - in his starting line-up for the encounter at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

This fixture should present a step-up in challenge from Canada who the Scots defeated 48-10 in their opening fixture last week.

The US are on a run of six victories, which include two wins over World Cup sides Uruguay and Russia, and comfortably qualified for next year's edition in Japan with an 80 - 44 aggregate victory over Canada across a two-legged playoff.

In what will be the sixth time the two sides have met in a capped international, Scotland will be looking to maintain their 100% record to make it six victories from six.


Gregor Townsend took charge of Scotland in May 2017.
Gregor Townsend took charge of Scotland in May 2017. SNS

Townsend has rung the changes as he casts an eye to next year's World Cup.

The Scotland head coach said players can stake their claim by impressing in this summer tour and has given plenty of inexperienced players an opportunity to do so against the Americans.

The only three players to retain their places in the side, which features seven debutants, are Sale Sharks winger Byron McGuigan and Edinburgh pair Ben Toolis and Blair Kinghorn.

Among the changes, Stuart Hogg will captain Scotland for the first time and Hogg's Glasgow Warrior's teammates Matt Fagerson and George Horne will make their first international appearances alongside their elder brothers Zander and Pete.

Also making their first starts for their country are fellow Warriors James Bhatti, George Turner, and Adam Hastings as well as Edinburgh lock Lewis Carmichael and back-row Luke Hamilton.

Townsend said of the USA challenge: "The USA have won their last six games and scored a lot of points in the process.

"They've beaten two teams that have already qualified for the Rugby World Cup - Uruguay and Russia - and put 60 points on both of them.

"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." | twitter


USA's Nick Civetta left Newcastle Falcons for Doncaster last week.
USA's Nick Civetta left Newcastle Falcons for Doncaster last week. sns group

The USA take on Scotland looking to prolong their undefeated run.

Gary Gold's men haven't lost a game in 2018, winning their last six games in a row, including 60-point victories over Russia and Uruguay.

Their rise in performances have been in part due to some familiar faces.

The Eagles side features Sale fly-half AJ MacGinty, Worcester Warriors props Andrew Durutalo and Joseph Taufete'e, Cardiff Blues' winger Blaine Scully, and Toulon's Samu Manoa. MacGinty, who plied his trade in Ireland with Connacht, will be pulling the strings at fly half.

The Americans are starting their preparations for next year's World Cup where they find themselves in a tough group alongside England, France, Argentina, and Tonga.

Sunday's encounter will be just the third match against a Tier 1 side for the US since the last World Cup. They lost 20 - 24 at home to Italy in summer of 2016 and conceded more than 50 points on their own turf in a heavy defeat to a second-string Irish side last year.

USA coach Gary Gold said ahead of the match: "Despite a few early challenges, the chemistry of this group worked well last week-even though we'd only spent a relatively short amount of time together as a unit.

"We've had another week to build on our rhythm as a collective and grow in our individual roles which will undoubtedly help us against a quality side in Scotland."

USA team: 15. Will Hooley (Bedford Blues) 14. Blaine Scully CAPTAIN (Cardiff Blues) 13. Bryce Campbell (Glendale Raptors) 12. Paul Lasike (Utah Warriors) 11. Marcel Brache (Perth/Western Force) 10. AJ MacGinty (Sale Sharks) 9. Shaun Davies (Glendale Raptors) 1. Eric Fry (Vannes Rugby) 2. Joe Taufete'e (Worcester Warriors 3. Paul Mullen (Houston SaberCats) 4. Samu Manoa (Toulon 5. Nick Civetta (Newcastle Falcons) 6. John Quill (Glendale Raptors) 7. Hanco Germishuys (Austin Elite) 8. Cam Dolan (San Diego Legion) Substitutes 16. Dylan Fawsitt (Glendale Raptors) 17. Titi Lamositele (Saracens) 18. Chris Baumann (Leicester Tigers) 19. Greg Peterson (Glasgow Warriors) 20. Ben Landry (Glendale Raptors) 21. Nate Augspurger (San Diego Legion) 22. Will Magie (Glendale Raptors) 23. Dylan Audsley (San Diego Legion)

Talking Points

The Horne brothers will start together against the USA.
The Horne brothers will start together against the USA. SNS

Stuart Hogg's captaincy and the band of brothers are the standout stories ahead of this encounter.

Hogg has been voted Six Nations player of the championship twice and been part of two British Lions squads in 2013 and 2017 but has never worn the armband for his country.

Hogg, in his 61st cap, will become Scotland's fourth captain in as many months, following on from John Barclay, Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist.

Sunday's match will also see the Fagerson and Horne brothers become the 48th and 49th brothers to play for Scotland, and the 22nd and 23rd pair of brothers to play together in the same Test match.

And It will be only the eighth time in close to 700 Scotland Tests when two sets of brothers have been on the field at the same time, with the Fagersons and Hornes joining the Evans and Lamont brothers (2010), Bulloch and Leslie brothers (2001), Milne and Hastings brothers (1990), and the Neilson and Orr brothers, who did so four times (1891-1892).

The younger of the Fagerson siblings Matt also becomes only the second Scotland forward to be capped as a teenager in 67 years, with lock Jonny Gray the other in 2013 - who is coincidentally one half of another brother pairing.

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