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Injuries force Scots into rejig for South Africa game

Scotland loses Hardie, Russell, Bennett to injury for South Africa game in Rugby World Cup

Injuries force Scots into rejig for South Africa game

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) -- Scotland was forced into a rejig for its Rugby World Cup game against South Africa on Saturday after injuries robbed the team of three key players.

With John Hardie still recovering from concussion, fellow New Zealand-born flanker Blair Cowan was selected on the openside -- two days after being called into the squad as an injury replacement for lock Grant Gilchrist.

Flyhalf Finn Russell and center Mark Bennett also were ruled out, leading to call-ups for Duncan Weir and center Richie Vernon. Prop Gordon Reid came in for Ryan Grant when the team was announced on Thursday.

There were 10 changes to the side that started the 39-16 win over the United States on Sunday, as the Scots reverted to their strongest available lineup in search of a win that would secure a quarterfinal place. They already have bonus-point wins against Japan and the Americans.

"This is a massive test for our team," Scotland coach Vern Cotter said. "Playing South Africa is one of the biggest challenges you can face as a rugby player. We'll need to be very good on the day."

With Gilchrist out, Richie and Jonny Gray pack down in the second row -- the seventh time the brothers have started together for Scotland.

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Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Richie Vernon, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw (captain); David Denton, Blair Cowan, Josh Strauss, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Willem Nel, Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid. Reserves: Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson, Jon Welsh, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont.


Updated : 2021-09-24 02:27 GMT+08:00