Scotland team to face Fiji at BT Murrayfield

Stuart Hogg has completed a remarkable recovery from ankle surgery to be named in the Scotland starting line-up to face Fiji on Saturday.

The Glasgow back has not played since damaging ligaments in the Warriors' clash with Munster in September.

It was feared he would sit out the entire autumn series after he was initially ruled out for 10 to 12 weeks, but the British and Irish Lions full-back has recovered quickly.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has decided to throw him straight back into action after naming a much-changed side to take on the Pacific Islanders at Murrayfield following last weekend's defeat to Wales.

Hogg's return is one of nine changes to the team which suffered a 21-10 defeat in Cardiff, with scrum-half Greig Laidlaw also back to skipper the side and Racing 92 star stand-off Finn Russell also recalled.

Exeter's former England Under-20s lock Sam Skinner is also handed his debut for the Dark Blues, who he qualifies for through his Scottish father.

Saracens wing Sean Maitland will make his first appearance for Townsend's team since the Six Nations while number eight Matt Fagerson, centre Peter Horne, hooker Fraser Brown and lock Grant Gilchrist are all promoted to the starting line-up after substitute roles at the Principality Stadium last time out.

Townsend said: "It's a more experienced side this week in terms of time together at this level, while we've rewarded some of those who performed well off the bench with the chance to start.

"We've had a good week in training with a slightly different focus for the challenges we expect Fiji to present this Saturday.

"In particular, they pose huge threats off turnover ball, utilising some of the best individual players, one-on-one, in the world."

He added: "Fiji score more tries than any team in the world off turnover ball, about 66 per cent, whereas most teams are under about 10 or 15 per cent, so if you repeatedly give them turnover ball it'll be a tough afternoon.

"That presents us with an opportunity to consider different approaches tactically and use different strategies to apply pressure in front of our home support.

"Our pack will have to work exceptionally hard against a very physical Fijian side and our backs will have to be alert to opportunities as a consequence of that work.

"We have to be physical and accurate, play to our strengths and put them under pressure in areas they don't want to go into, to make sure the game is open for us but not for them."

Scotland team to play Fiji

Forwards: 1 Allan Dell (Edinburgh), 2 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), 3 Willem Nel (Edinburgh), 4 Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)*, 5 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), 6 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), 7 Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), 8 Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)

Backs: 9 Greig Laidlaw (Captain, Clermont Auvergne), 10 Finn Russell (Racing 92), 11 Sean Maitland (Saracens), 12 Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 13 Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), 14 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), 15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)

Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), 17 Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors), 18 Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), 19 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), 20 Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), 21 George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 22 Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), 23 Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons)

* denotes uncapped player

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