SA's Duhan van der Merwe set for Scotland debut, Finn Russell on bench

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Duhan van der Merwe
Duhan van der Merwe
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

South African-born Duhan van der Merwe will make his Scotland debut in Friday's match against Georgia at Murrayfield.

Recently qualified Edinburgh wing will make his Test debut after a sensational 2019/20 season as he was named PRO14 Players' player of the year award last month.

Finn Russell is set to make his first Scotland appearance since last year's World Cup after being named on the bench.

The Racing 92 flyhalf did not feature during this year's Six Nations before it was halted by the coronavirus outbreak after he was sanctioned for breaching team discipline by going for a late night drink ahead of Scotland's tournament opener with Ireland.

Russell later gave a newspaper interview in which he detailed the breakdown of his relationship with Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.

But the pair appear to have resolved their differences and Russell will be among the replacements against Georgia, with Adam Hastings named as the starting flyhalf by Townsend on Wednesday.

Russell was a member of the Racing side narrowly beaten by Exeter in last weekend's European Champions Cup final.

But with Exeter playing Wasps in this Saturday's English Premiership final, there is no place for the victorious Chiefs trio of Stuart Hogg, Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner.

The Exeter men are set to join the Scotland squad ahead of next week's delayed Six Nations finale against Wales in Llanelli.

While Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown will captain the side for the first time after being named skipper in Hogg's absence.

"It's been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches we've really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19," said Townsend in a Scottish Rugby statement.

"As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first-up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.

Townsend added that Brown's captaincy was a reward for the forward's "professionalism and hard work" with Scotland in recent years.

Meanwhile, the former Scotland playmaker said a Georgia side renowned for their scrummaging prowess would provide Scotland with a "very physical and motivated opponent."

Meanwhile, South African duo Olie Kebble and Cornell du Preez are on the bench.

Kick-off on Friday is at 20:30 SA time.

Teams: 

Scotland

15 Blair Kinghorn; 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe; 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price; 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie; 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Ben Toolis; 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Rory Sutherland

Substitutes: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Cornell du Preez, 22 George Horne, 23 Finn Russell

Georgia 

TBA

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