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  • International Match
  • 7th Jun 2014
  • KO 00:00

Scotland take on USA in Houston in Vern Cotter's first game in charge

Last updated: 7th June 2014  

VERTICAL GORDON REID TRY V MUNSTER

Gordon Reid: Earns his first Scotland cap against the United States

RUGBY RUGBY UNION HEINEKEN CUP RUGBY UNION TOURNAMENT CHRIS WYLES SARACENS V CLERMONT HEINEKEN CUP

Chris Wyles: Lines up for the USA after scoring a try during Saracens' Heineken Cup success against Cotter's Clermont

Heineken Cup Rugby union Vern Cotter Clermont Auvergne

Vern Cotter: Looking to get his Scotland reign off to a winning start

UNION Mike Tolkin USA Rugby

Mike Tolkin: Aiming to upset Scotland in Houston

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Vern Cotter will commence his reign as Scotland head coach with a trip to Houston to face the United States of America on Sunday.

Following the disappointment of finishing fifth in the Six Nations under Scott Johnson, the newly recruited Cotter will be eager to hit the ground running and build momentum ahead of Tests against Argentina and South Africa later in the month.

Scotland were defeated in four of their five Six Nations matches and their only win came courtesy of a last-gasp drop-goal from Duncan Weir as they snatched a dramatic victory over Italy.

However, former Clermont coach Cotter will be eager to transform their fortunes as they take on the USA and Canada before facing sterner challenges against Argentina and the Springboks, ranked second in the world.

Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin has named six Aviva Premiership based players in his 23-man match-day squad for the visit of Scotland.

Saracens full-back Chris Wyles is joined by Leicester Tigers winger Blaine Scully in a back three which also sees Luke Hume claim a 16th international cap.

London Wasps centre Andrew Suniula joins Seamus Kelly of the California Golden Bears in midfield, while Mike Petri forms a half-back partnership with Shalom Suniula.

Debutants

A week after losing the Premiership final to Northampton Saints, Hayden Smith joins the Eagles pack at lock, while Todd Clever captains the side from flanker.

Saints loose forward Cam Dolan takes the No 8 jersey having not featured in English rugby’s showpiece event, although Samu Manoa's involvement means he does not make the match-day squad.

Meanwhile, Cotter has handed debuts to Finn Russell, Gordon Reid and Blair Cowan as part of his first Scotland selection.

Glasgow Warriors pair Reid (prop) and Russell (fly-half), and London Irish back-row, Cowan, will start their first international outing at the BBVA Compass Stadium, while prop Alex Allan and scrum-half Grayson Hart could debut from the bench.

Reid, an unused replacement in the 2012 November Test match against Tonga, will keep experienced company in the forwards, starting alongside Scott Lawson and Geoff Cross, and familiar locking duo Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton.

Cowan is joined in the back-row by Alasdair Strokosch and number eight Johnnie Beattie, the latter starting his first match since injuring his ankle in the Six Nations match against France in March.

In the backs, 21-year-old Russell will be accompanied by scrum-half and captain, Greig Laidlaw, who will share the responsibility of orchestrating a physical midfield partnership of Duncan Taylor and Sean Lamont, and a dynamic back-three trio of Tim Visser, Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg.

Scotland: 15 Hogg; 14 Maitland, 13 Lamont, 12 Taylor, 11 Visser; 10 Russell, 9 Laidlaw (capt); 1 Reid, 2 Lawson, 3 Cross; 4 Gray, 5 Hamilton; 6 Strokosch, 7 Cowan,  8 Beattie

Replacements: 16 MacArthur, 17 Allan, 18 M Low, 19 Gilchrist, 20 K Low, 21 Hart, 22 Jackson, 23 Evans

Scotland: 15 Hogg; 14 Maitland, 13 Lamont, 12 Taylor, 11 Visser; 10 Russell, 9 Laidlaw (capt); 1 Reid, 2 Lawson, 3 Cross; 4 Gray, 5 Hamilton; 6 Strokosch, 7 Cowan,  8 Beattie

Replacements: 16 MacArthur, 17 Allan, 18 M Low, 19 Gilchrist, 20 K Low, 21 Hart, 22 Jackson, 23 Evans

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