Scotland coach Vern Cotter has named three debutants to face USA in Houston
Last Updated: 05/06/14 6:56pm
Scotland coach Vern Cotter has named three debutants in his first team for Saturday's Test match against USA in Houston.
Glasgow duo Gordon Reid and Finn Russell, along with London Irish's Blair Cowan, will start their first international game against USA at the BBVA Compass Stadium.
Glasgow prop Alex Allan and Edinburgh scrum-half Grayson Hart could also make their debuts off the bench.
Russell, the Warriors fly-half, is given his first taste of international rugby after taking over the position at club level ahead of Ruaridh Jackson and Duncan Weir
"Finn has been playing very well of late for Glasgow and this is a good chance for him, I like what he offers," said Cotter. 'He has been playing good footy and deserves his opportunity. We will see what he brings to the team."
In the forwards, prop Reid is rewarded for a rich vein of form that includes scoring the winning try in Glasgow's RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final win over Munster, while Cowan, the player of the season with London Irish, starts at openside flanker.
"He is an out-and-out number seven, quick on his feet, can carry and is quick over the ball," added Cotter.
"What he does give us on a dry track is speed; he is quick. He will apply pressure, which is what the game is about, and I am sure he is looking forward to the game."
The only real hint of controversy is on the bench where Alex Allan, who is switching from Edinburgh to Glasgow because of a lack of opportunities in the capital, might make his debut after playing a total of 12 minutes of professional rugby all season.
He is joined by Grayson Hart, who looks set to take over from Greig Laidlaw as the Edinburgh scrum half next season and has been playing regularly.
Cotter has had limited opportunities to train with the team and admits he has not had time to change much.
"We are working under pretty difficult conditions with the heat so we have had to adapt," he said. "What I have seen from the players is that there are some very good things in place.
"I have not changed a lot and since we are preparing for a Test match, there is a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of concentration. We are trying to adapt to the conditions with the travel and things. There are opportunities and a World Cup approaching."
The Scotland coach is, however, wary of the USA.
"You don't want to underestimate them," he warned. "They are a very god team, they have four players coming off finals, most of the team are professional. They are nowhere near the team they were and the way they were perceived 10 to 15 years ago."