Scotland: Finn Russell returns to the starting XV for All Blacks encounter

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Star playmaker Finn Russell has made a stunning return to the Scotland starting line-up for their Autumn Nations Series clash with New Zealand.

The 30-year-old was omitted from the initial squad ahead of the end-of-year Tests but, after being brought back into the group due to an injury to Adam Hastings, he has now been handed the fly-half role.

Russell starts alongside Ali Price at half-back in a side which shows three changes from the team that defeated Fiji 28-12 last weekend.

Sione Tuipulotu preferred to Cam Redpath

At centre, head coach Gregor Townsend has gone for ballast over creativity for the All Blacks game with Sione Tuipulotu joining vice captain Chris Harris in midfield.

Cam Redpath, who featured against the Pacific Islanders, was released from the squad earlier this week and will play for Bath in their Premiership game on Friday.

The back three remains unaltered as Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe once again combine.

Up front, George Turner’s injury has opened the door for Fraser Brown to start at hooker, where he joins Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson in the front-row.

Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist are once again at lock, with Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson and captain Jamie Ritchie the selected back-row trio.

Impact on the bench

There is also plenty of quality and experience on the bench, headlined by WP Nel, who is set to win his 50th cap for Scotland.

Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, Jonny Gray, Jack Dempsey, Ben White, Blair Kinghorn and Mark Bennett complete the 23-man squad.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Ben White, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Mark Bennett

Date: Sunday, November 13
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

READ MORE: Beauden Barrett starts at fly-half for All Blacks with Mark Telea set to make debut on the wing

The article Scotland: Finn Russell returns to the starting XV for All Blacks encounter appeared first on Planetrugby.com.