Gray named in Scotland team

PA Sport
Richie Gray will undergo a fitness test ahead of Scotland's Test with New Zealand
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Richie Gray will undergo a fitness test ahead of Scotland's Test with New Zealand

Lock Richie Gray has been named in the Scotland team for Sunday's EMC Autumn Test with New Zealand, subject to undergoing a fitness test on his ankle.

Head coach Andy Robinson has named a side showing five changes from the XV which began Scotland's last Test, the June 23 win in Samoa. Gray is partnered in the second row by Jim Hamilton, who was banned for the summer tour for an indiscretion while playing for Gloucester, with Kelly Brown returning from injury to win his 50th cap and first as captain.

Centre Nick De Luca and scrum-half Mike Blair replace injured duo Joe Ansbro and Chris Cusiter, respectively, while Geoff Cross starts at tighthead prop in place of Euan Murray, who is not available as the All Blacks clash falls on a Sunday. Brown replaces Richie Vernon, who was not selected in the initial squad.

Holland-born Edinburgh wing Tim Visser will make his first Scotland appearance at Murrayfield, having qualified on residency grounds in June before scoring two tries on his debut in Fiji. He is joined in the back three by Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont.

De Luca's partner in the centre is Matt Scott, who will also make his home debut. Blair, who moved to France from Edinburgh in the summer, teams up at half-back with Greig Laidlaw, the Edinburgh captain.

Glasgow Warriors prop Ryan Grant made his first three appearances in the summer wins in Australia, Fiji and Samoa and takes a 100 per cent international record into the clash with the world champions.

Ross Ford, who was captain for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations and the summer tour, completes the front row, starting at hooker.

The only uncapped player in the matchday 23 is Glasgow Warriors' Henry Pyrgos, who provides cover for Blair from the substitutes' bench.

Scotland team: S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); S Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), N De Luca (Edinburgh), M Scott (Edinburgh), T Visser (Edinburgh), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), M Blair (Brive); R Grant (Glasgow Warriors), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), R Gray (Sale Sharks), J Hamilton (Gloucester), A Strokosch (Perpignan), R Rennie (Edinburgh), K Brown (captain, Saracens).

Substitutes: S Lawson (London Irish), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), K Traynor (Bristol), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), D Denton (Edinburgh), H Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), M Evans (Castres).

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