Scotland v Georgia: Vern Cotter pleased by improved squad depth
|Autumn internationals: Scotland v Georgia|
|Date: Saturday, 26 November Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock Kick-off: 14:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Watch on BBC One Scotland; listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text updates on BBC Sport website|
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter says his team selection for the clash with Georgia on Saturday was the most difficult he has had to make since taking over the national team.
Cotter has has made five changes from the side that beat Argentina last weekend.
''The players took it on board when we said we want to make our selections as hard as possible," Cotter said.
"This team selection is probably the toughest we've had as a coaching team."
The changes see Mark Bennett replacing the injured Huw Jones at centre, Ross Ford coming in at hooker for Fraser Brown, fit-again Richie Gray displacing Grant Gilchrist in the second-row, with Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson coming into the back-row in place of Magnus Bradbury and John Barclay.
''Players who were left out should feel quite rightly annoyed that they were left out and that's a good thing," Cotter continued.
"They need to make it as hard for us as they can. Depth is important to us, games are getting more attritional, more and more physical and you need depth.
''If you are going to play at the top level of world rugby you need depth, and that's something these young guys can offer. They are coming through from academies, they are getting well coached and they are getting good strength and conditioning programs and learning technically how to get better.
''Combining skill and power is very important and if we can have young players forcing there way through, that's a good thing.
''We're hoping that at selection time at the Six Nations things will be tough.''
Bennett missed the summer tour of Japan to represent the silver medal-winning Team GB squad in the rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics.
His performances last year saw him nominated for World Rugby's breakthrough player of the year award, but his form has dipped since the World Cup.
Huw Jones has caught the eye in the autumn tests, producing a memorable two-try performance on his home debut against Australia before conjuring a moment of brilliance to lay on a try for Sean Maitland against Argentina.
The Stormers centre misses the Georgia match with an injury picked up in the act of laying on that try, but Jones' misfortune is Bennett's opportunity.
''I'm absolutely delighted to be back in squad," the Glasgow Warriors centre said. "Huw's been playing well.
"I have the opportunity to go out and stake a claim to keep the shirt. The competition in the squad is huge.
"I need to do my best to keep my place, I need to be outstanding."