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Matt Scott handed first Scotland start for four years

The Leicester centre is one of four changes as Gregor Townsend named a team to face South Africa.

Matt Scott handed first Scotland start for four years SNS Group

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his starting line-up for this Saturday’s Test against South Africa.

Leicester centre Matt Scott earns his first start for the national team since June 2017, when he played against Italy in Singapore in Townsend’s first match in charge.

Glasgow’s Rufus McLean also comes back into the side after sitting out Sunday’s 15-13 win over Australia having scored two tries on his debut against Tonga the previous weekend.

Edinburgh’s Nick Haining comes in to start in the back-row, while club-mate Stuart McInally is added at hooker.

The four players who drop out are Hamish Watson, who is among the squad, and Sam Johnson, Darcy Graham and George Turner, none of whom are in the matchday group.

Sale hooker Ewan Ashman, who scored a debut try as a replacement against the Wallabies, again starts on the bench.

Townsend believes he has picked the team best equipped to deal with South Africa’s power.

“We know what to expect from the Springboks in how they play and the physicality they will bring across the team,” he told Scottish Rugby. “We have therefore selected a side that we believe can both meet that challenge and give us the platform to impose our game on the opposition.

“It should be a full-blooded contest and will require an intensity and focus across our 23-man squad for the full 80 minutes.”