Port Elizabeth - Scotland coach Vern Cotter made four changes to his starting line-up on Thursday for Saturday’s Test against the Springboks.
Highly-rated 20-year-old No 8 Adam Ashe will made his Test debut at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and he is joined in the starting side by new faces Henry Pyrgos at scrumhalf, Chris Fusaro at No 7 flank and Tim Swinson at lock.
Cotter said on Thursday that Ashe has done well while on a scholarship in Canterbury in New Zealand, which has paved the way for his call-up to the tour this week.
“He is a talented player and the reports of his form in New Zealand have been very positive,” the coach said. “He’s trained well with us and looked sharp. He is a specialist number eight and this is a golden opportunity for him.”
Former Western Province and Stormers flank has been named on the replacements’ bench, alongside British and Irish Lions tighthead prop Euan Murray.
South African fans will also be familiar with right wing Sean Maitland, who played for New Zealand Super Rugby team the Crusaders for many years.
Cotter, who is a New Zealander, only recently took charge of the Scottish side for their current tour of North America, Argentina and South Africa. They won all three Tests so far against Canada, USA and Argentina, but he knows it will be much tougher against the Boks.
“I’ve always regarded playing South Africa in South Africa as the benchmark. It’s a massive challenge and it gives our boys an opportunity to lift their level,” he said.
“I’ve been pleased with the initiative that’s developing within the team. We’re starting to get good variety in our game. Now it’s a matter of seeing if we can do it against very good opposition.”
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Nick de Luca, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson. Bench: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Moray Low, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Dougie Fife, 23 Peter Murchie.