There will be a few familiar faces in the Scotland team one of them being former Western Province and Stormers player, Huw Jones. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
In today’s globalised world, not even rugby is immune. South Africa-born players such as former Cheetahs man WP Nel lining up for Scotland in the front row and former Lions captain Josh Strauss primed to come off the bench. Even Sean Maitland, on the wing, is a New Zealander.

But there is an interesting dynamic in Scotland’s centres. Huw Jones is a familiar name to many South Africans, especially those in the Cape, as the Edinburgh-born 24-year-old headed to the Republic after his schooling to work at Bishops Preparatory School for a gap year.

Jones went on to play some club rugby for False Bay in 2013 before he got a call up from Ikey Tigers head coach Kevin Musikanth for the Varsity Cup side.

After a successful season in 2014 for Ikeys, he made it to the Vodacom Cup team for Western Province and went from strength to strength.

Jones soon became an integral part of the Stormers Super Rugby squad, impression with his calculated angles, powerful runs, and defensive prowess.

Jones was welcomed into the Newlands family so much that many forgot his Scottish roots.

The centre then announced he would be returning to the land of his birth in order to try and make the national side, and what a good move it was for the former Stormers man.

He has become a real attacking threat for the attack-minded Scots, and is advancing his game and his career exponentially.

Today (7.20pm SA time kick-off) he will be facing his foster nation, the country that helped him grow into a formidable rugby player, but he is also facing an old friend in Damien de Allende.

Many a time in Super Rugby, De Allende would have Jones running outside him looking for a pass, but today it will be all about looking each other in the eyes, head on, as the two centres clash.

They may not be directly opposite each other in today’s clash, but one can be very sure they will be trying to get one up on another should the opportunity arise.

De Allende has been devastating in getting the Boks over the advantage line since he returned to the starting line up under coach Rassie Erasmus. His game at No 12 is certainly one of straight hard running, and with a familiar face likely to try and defend him, it will be fun to see if De Allende adds an extra edge to his go-forward.

Equally, Jones’s best asset is his ability to beat defenders, and he has been improving in that aspect since his move to the national side in Scotland.

Jones, no doubt, will also be looking to make his old mate feel a bit foolish if he can get a stiff hand off, or a dizzying run through De Allende’s channel.

The Stormers connection between these two new foes will be a fascinating backdrop for this mini-battle.

Both De Allende and Jones are integral to their respective teams, and having each other on opposite sides is likely to add that extra fire and spice into what many are expecting to be an entertaining and competitive match.


Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt), Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson, Sam Skinner, Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis, WP Nel, Stuart McInally, Gordon Reid

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Josh Strauss, Jamie Ritchie, Ali Price, Adam Hastings

South Africa: Willie le Roux, S’bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt), Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Francois Louw, Ivan van Zyl, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe


Independent on Saturday

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