Scots aim for three in a row over England Saxons
Scotland A head coach Shade Munro has named his team to take on England Saxons at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday, as the Scots look for their third win in a row over the English.
The Scottish A side won 13-9 in Newcastle last year, 12 months after running in four tries to beat the Saxons 35-0 at Galashiels.
The starting XV on Friday night includes a mix of youth and experience, with eight players from Glasgow Warriors, three from Edinburgh Rugby and four Exiles.
Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, Kieran Low, Byron McGuigan, Mark Bennett and captain Jonny Gray will all make their first appearance for Scotland A, while Olly Atkins, Kevin Bryce, Tyrone Holmes and Grayson Hart could debut from the bench.
Jonny Gray and Kieran Low, who won full Scotland caps during the viagogo Autumn Tests in November, will combine in the second-row.
Allister Hogg, 31, who made his Scotland A debut against Romania in 2002, starts at number eight and will feature in a blue jersey for the first time since 2009, when he represented the full Scotland team.
Scotland A head coach Shade Munro said: “If you’re going to have a one off game it’s great to have it against England.
“We’re trying to win our third game in a row against England Saxons, but we know how difficult the game is going to be and we’ll need to be at our best to get a positive result.
“The players have one game to show what they can do before the RBS 6 Nations gets underway and it’s a chance for them to showcase their skills in terms of promoting themselves to the national team.
“It’s fantastic for Jonny Gray to captain the side. He’s only 19 and he’s captaining a senior Scottish national team. He has played particularly well this season and deserves all the accolades given to him.
“Allister Hogg has been playing very well for Newcastle Falcons, so he’ll also be a key player for us on Friday.
“There is a great mix of youth and experience within our squad and it’s really encouraging to see so many young players coming through and getting the opportunity.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to be playing the game in Glasgow for the first time and I hope the fans come out in numbers to support the team.”
It is the first time Scotstoun Stadium has hosted an A international.
Scotland A team to play England Saxons, Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 31 January (kick-off 7.30pm):
15. Jack Cuthbert (Edinburgh Rugby) 14. Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby) 13. Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) 12. Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors) 11. Byron McGuigan (Glasgow Warriors) 10. Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby) 9. Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 1. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) 2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 3. Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors) 4. Kieran Low (London Irish) 5. Jonny Gray – c – (Glasgow Warriors) 6. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) 7. Blair Cowan (London Irish) 8. Allister Hogg (Newcastle Flacons) Subsitutes 16. Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors) 17. Alex Allan (Edinburgh Rugby) 18. Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors) 19. Olly Atkins (Edinburgh Rugby) 20. Tyrone Holmes (Glasgow Warriors) 21. Grayson Hart (Edinburgh Rugby) 22. Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby) 23. Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors)