Scotland v Samoa: Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo to make debut

Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo
London-born Darryl Marfo has a Scottish mother and joined Edinburgh from Bath in the summer
Autumn Test: Scotland v Samoa
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Date: Saturday 11 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app & Radio Scotland 810MW

Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo will make his Scotland debut in Saturday's autumn Test against Samoa at Murrayfield.

Hooker Stuart McInally makes only his fourth Test start in the absence of the injured Fraser Brown and Ross Ford.

Ben Toolis joins Jonny Gray in the second row, with fit-again Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones resuming at centre.

Three more players - Glasgow duo George Turner and Jamie Bhatti, and Newcastle centre Chris Harris - could make their Test debuts off the bench.

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With Brown and Ford on a lengthy injury list, McInally makes his first appearance since the summer tour of Japan in 2016, with WP Nel getting the nod at tight-head over Zander Fagerson.

Three loose-head props - Alasdair Dickinson, Allan Dell and Gordon Reid - are are all missing, while new head coach Gregor Townsend must also do without Greig Laidlaw, Richie Gray, Sean Maitland, Duncan Taylor, Matt Scott and Adam Ashe for his first Test on home soil.

With Dunbar declared fit after returning for Glasgow in their Pro14 win over Leinster last weekend following knee surgery, Townsend fields an all-Warriors backline, including new recruit Huw Jones.

Wing Lee Jones joins British and Irish Lions Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the back three, with Ali Price and Finn Russell the half-backs.

In all there are nine Glasgow players in the starting line-up and 15 in the match-day 23, with number eight Ryan Wilson named as one of two vice-captains - along with full-back Hogg - to John Barclay, who continues as skipper after recovering from concussion issues.

"It's something we did on the summer tour to support the captain," explained Townsend. "It makes sense to have one in the forwards and one in the backs.

"We have other leaders, with Jonny Gray at the line-out, Stuart McInally in the scrum and Finn Russell the attack. The more people talking about what we need to do to win the game, the better it is for us."

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend
Townsend is looking forward to his first Test at Murrayfield as head coach

Marfo moved to Edinburgh from Bath in the summer and Townsend admitted he "didn't know much" about the 27-year-old at the beginning of the season.

"He's got his opportunity at Edinburgh, and part of that is down to injuries, but he's played ahead of others we were looking at. He has shown consistency and we believe he is getting better and better.

"We were very impressed by how he played away to Leinster, who had two British & Irish Lions in their front row.

"We've known the team for a couple of weeks; we explained that to the players on day one of camp.

"We've selected players on form and we looked at cohesion within the group.

"Glasgow back-line, Edinburgh front-row - players who know each other very well. It cuts down on training time in what is a limited window."

Scotland's most recent outing against Samoa was a thrilling 36-33 victory at the 2015 World Cup, the visitors having won only one of their 10 previous meetings, a 27-17 success in South Africa in 2013.

"Samoa have real strength in the back line," said Townsend.

"They've got Tim Nanai Williams at stand-off and he's played most of his rugby at centre, so we believe they intend to playing an attacking game plan and we'll have to be very good defensively.

"If we give a team like Samoa turnover ball or kick poorly, they're going to be very dangerous.

"Samoa - Scotland games have always been tight affairs."

Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones, Finn Russell, Ali Price (all Glasgow Warriors); Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis (all Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), Barclay (captain - Scarlets), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow).

Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson (all Glasgow), Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh), Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne (both Glasgow), Chris Harris (Newcastle).

Samoa XV: Ah See Tuala, Paul Perez, Kieron Fonotia, Reynold Lee-Lo,David Lemi, Tim Nanai Williams, Pele Cowley;Jordan Lay, Manu Leiataua, Donald Brighouse, Josh Tyrell, Chris Vui (capt), Piula Fa'asalele, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam.

Replacements: Motu Matu'u, James Lay, Hisa Sasagi, Fa'atiga Lemalu, Ofisa Treviranus, Mealani Matavao, AJ Alatimu, Alapati Leiua.

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