Scotland vs Australia
Scotland suffered a heartbreaking and controversial one-point loss to Australia in last year's World Cup David Rogers/Getty Images

Scotland begin their autumn international campaign with a difficult clash against Michael Cheika's Australia at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon (12 November). The impressive Wallabies should certainly be high on confidence after easing to their 12th consecutive win over hapless Wales in Cardiff last weekend.

Where to watch

Scotland vs Australia kicks off at 14.30 GMT, with BBC One's live coverage of the Test beginning 30 minutes earlier. Alternatively, fans can follow along on the BBC Sport website or listen to Radio Scotland.


In one of the most bizarre moments of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, experienced referee Craig Joubert sprinted full pelt towards the Twickenham tunnel in order to, as he later revealed, "avoid any possible unseemly confrontation" after a hugely controversial late decision that led to Scotland's gutting elimination at the quarter-final stage. Leading by two points after captain Greig Laidlaw had converted Mark Bennett's interception try, Vern Cotter's side were just seconds away from securing a last-four meeting with Argentina before a botched offside decision led to trusty fly-half Bernard Foley putting Australia through at their expense.

Cotter, who will be succeeded by Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend when he returns to France's Top 14 with Montpellier next summer, has warned against his team falling into a trap by working on the principle of revenge when eventual losing finalists Australia visit Edinburgh this weekend. The Kiwi insists they have analysed that loss and moved on, although back-to-back summer victories over Japan hardly set the pulses racing after a respectable fourth-place finish at the Six Nations that featured moments of scintillating attacking play including Stuart Hogg's superb individual try against Ireland.

Ross Ford
Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford will win his 100th cap for Scotland at Murrayfield Stu Forster/Getty Images

Hooker Ross Ford will follow Chris Paterson and Sean Lamont as only the third Scotland player to reach a century of caps on Saturday, flanked by two props making their maiden starts in Zander Fagerson and debutant Allan Dell. First-choice pair WP Nel and Al Dickinson are both out injured, while an arm injury limits Gordon Reid to a peripheral role. Hamish Watson is preferred to Edinburgh teammate John Hardie at openside and Stormers centre Huw Jones partners the returning Alex Dunbar in midfield. Those two are also starting a Test match for the very first time.

Finn Russell is back at 10 after missing the tour to Japan, although wing Tommy Seymour is absent due to personal reasons. Ali Price should make his debut as cover for Laidlaw. Only five of the XV started that final, unconvincing 21-16 win in Tokyo back in June.

Cheika, meanwhile, has made one change to the Wallaby side that ran in five tries against a depleted Wales outfit missing the likes of captain Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Alun Wyn Jones and Liam Williams, with Will Genia replacing Nick Phipps at scrum-half. The 28-year-old played no part in last weekend's emphatic win after club side Stade Francais refused to release him for a fixture that fell outside of World Rugby's international Test window.

Will Genia
Will Genia's return should strengthen Australia even further Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The back row remains unchanged, with Lopeti Timani continuing to prove his worth and David Pocock, who suffered a concussion in Cardiff, lining up on the blindside for only the second time in his illustrious career to date. Dean Mumm, meanwhile, has to settle for a place among the replacements despite returning from a one-week ban handed down for striking New Zealand's Brodie Retallick. Joining him on the bench are formidable lock Will Skelton and young prop Tom Robertson, with Nick Frisby, James Slipper, Scott Fardy and Sefa Naivalu all dropping out.

Australia will likely draw added motivation from a newspaper column penned by Scotland and Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan last month, in which he claimed that the tourists had "definitely regressed" amid issues regarding a lack of power in the tight five that was nullifying the ball-hawking talents of Pocock and usual partner in crime Michael Hooper.

"It is almost as if this Australia side were playing catch-up throughout the Rugby Championship, with a lot of previously lauded individuals not playing anywhere near their best," he wrote in The Daily Telegraph. "They are on a grand slam tour, playing Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and England. I cannot see them winning a grand slam. Indeed, I can see all their opponents fancying their chances against them."

Sir Ian McGeechan
Cotter does not share the opinions expressed by Sir Ian McGeechan Stu Forster/Getty Images


Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Alex Dunbar, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Greig Laidlaw (c); 1. Allan Dell, 2. Ross Ford, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. John Barclay, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: 16. Fraser Brown, 17. Gordon Reid, 18. Moray Low, 19. Grant Gilchrist, 20. John Hardie, 21. Ali Price, 22. Pete Horne, 23. Rory Hughes.

Australia: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Dane Haylett-Petty, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Reece Hodge, 11. Henry Speight, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Will Genia; 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore (c), 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. David Pocock, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Lopeti Timani.

Replacements: 16. Tolu Latu, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Will Skelton, 21. Dean Mumm, 22. Nick Phipps, 23. Quade Cooper.

What the coaches say

Vern Cotter: "It's been eight months since we last played at home so the players are desperate to get out there and put in another winning performance in front of our home support. We've prepared well over the past couple of weeks in camp, with the players working hard technically and tactically for what will undoubtedly be a tough Test match against one of the world's top teams. We must not relent in our pursuit of success and to do the Scottish people proud."

Vern Cotter
Cotter will be replaced by Gregor Townsend in June 2017 David Rogers/Getty Images

Michael Cheika: "I want us to be consistent. I think it's going to be a very, very tight game. They're going to put a lot of pressure on us at the ruck and they've got some really good attacking weapons. The halfback, the fullback, and a couple of centres and wings have got speed and they've got big ball carriers, so I think they present a lot of threats. Hearing from what McGeechan said earlier on in the tour, they'll think we're a bit soft up front so they'll probably have a go at us there too."