Edinburgh's Ross Ford to win record 110th Scotland cap
Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford will break Scotland's caps record on Saturday after being named in the starting line-up to face Fiji.
Ford is poised to make his 110th appearance for his country as coach Gregor Townsend announced 12 changes to the XV which began the victory over Australia.
Glasgow centre Nick Grigg is set to make his debut, with Finn Russell having left the tour to link up with the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand and Alex Dunbar granted permission to leave a week early.
Ford will go clear of Chris Paterson as Scotland’s most-capped Test player provided there are no late injury setbacks. Asked to describe what makes Ford such a special player, Townsend said: “His mindset and work-rate. Ross loves everything about being a rugby player. He puts in the work in the gym and the training field, which is the reason why he is still playing really well after 109 caps.
“We’ve seen it on this tour. He has driven a lot of the standards. It’s really good from our perspective that we have two hookers (Ford and Fraser Brown) who are competing for that position.”
Grigg is one of three players who have not featured on the tour so far to get their first outing against Fiji. Alex Allan, the Glasgow prop whose only cap came three years ago, comes in for Gordon Reid in a new-look front row. John Hardie, who should have played the opening game against Italy but damaged his back in the work-up, also starts.
Speaking about Griggs, Townsend said: “We believe this is the right time to give him an opportunity. He was close to being involved against Italy. We think his link with Duncan (Taylor) will be great for him in his first Test match.”
Townsend is determined his side will not slip at the final hurdle after recording an impressive win over Australia last weekend.
“It’s been a very good tour so far,” he said. “The games have gone well, with two positive results and the players have enjoyed their time together. In terms of selection, we are looking at where the guys are in terms of form and their physical status, as well as seeking to give players opportunities. It’s a really strong team with a bench that can up the tempo of the game. We’re looking forward to seeing them play. Fiji have improved a huge amount over the past few years and did very well to find a way to win against Italy last weekend. They are excellent from unstructured play and have a number of very evasive players throughout their squad.”
Fiji have named a side showing seven changes from the one which squeaked past Italy with an 80th-minute drop goal. Niko Matawalu, a former crowd favourite at Glasgow, has been left out, though Leone Nakarawa, who also played in Scotland, is included.
Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Serupepeli Vularika, 8 Akapusi Qera (c), 7 Peceli Yato, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Kalivati Tawake, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Peni Ravai. Sibs: Replacements: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Joeli Veitayaki, 18 Mosese Ducivaki, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 John Stewart, 23 Benito Masilevu.
Scotland: 15 Ruaridh Jackson (Harlequins), 14 Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby), 13 Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors), 12 Duncan Taylor (Saracens), 11 Tim Visser (Harlequins), 10 Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 9 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), 8 Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors), 7 John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby), 6 John Barclay (c) (Scarlets), 5 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), 4 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), 3 Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby), 2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), 1 Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors). Subs: Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 17 Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors), 18 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 19 Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby), 20 Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby), 21 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), 22 Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), 23 Greig Tonks (London Irish).
Saturday, 3.30am. ANZ Stadium.
TV: Streamed live on www.scottishrugby.org
Referee: P Gauzere (France)