Scotland rest stars for final World Cup warm-up contest with Georgia

Finn Russell is one of the Scotland front line players to be rested against Georgia
Finn Russell is one of the Scotland front line players to be rested against Georgia

Gregor Townsend has left several key men out of his squad for Scotland's World Cup send-off against Georgia at Murrayfield on Friday.

Skipper Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown, John Barclay, Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg have all be spared action, but Jonny Gray returns from injury to make his first appearance of the warm-up series.

Hooker Grant Stewart and flanker Magnus Bradbury have been given consolation slots on the bench after missing out on place in head coach Townsend's 31-man squad for Japan 2019.

Glasgow back-row Ryan Wilson will captain Scotland for the first time in McInally's absence as the Dark Blues look to add momentum in the run-up to this month's tournament following back-to-back wins over France and the Lelos.

Townsend has made 12 changes to the starting side that defeated Georgia 44-10 at the Dinamo Arena.

Warriors wing Tommy Seymour and Scarlets number eight Blade Thomson have completed the 'graduated return to play' protocol for concussions sustained against France almost a fortnight ago.

Townsend said: "We've been together since the middle of June and Friday night is our final chance this year to play in front of our supporters.

"It's another opportunity for players to get valuable game time and build on what was a very good performance last weekend in Georgia.

"We are very aware that Georgia will be much improved after their first hit-out of the season and they will know much more about how we play."

Townsend continued: "It's a boost to have Jonny back in side for the first time since last season and for others, like Tommy, Blade and Duncan Taylor, to have made a return to full fitness, following their recent injuries.

"It's also great to involve two players in our squad this weekend - Grant Stewart and Magnus Bradbury - who just missed out on selection to our group to travel to Japan.

"As with all those that didn't make the 31-man squad, it's important they keep training and playing well in case they get a call up during the tournament.

"Friday night gives us the opportunity to keep improving and get one step closer to playing our best rugby over the next few weeks."

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