The incredibly sad story of the death of Scotland Women international Number 8 Siobhan Cattigan has been a difficult read over the recent months. There remain questions regarding the circumstances surrounding it and the actions or otherwise of the SRU, with players not happy with their players’ union either.
In this context, some Scotland fans, led by Allan MacDonald, are raising awareness by asking for an ovation in remembrance of Siobhan in the eighth minute of each of Scotland’s internationals this Autumn.
You can read more about it here
Pre match reading
There’s been another men’s match today; the All Blacks toiling to a win over Japan. Read all about it here.
There are two Rugby World Cups running at the currently and now the Autumn Internationals heave into motion.
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After what most thought was some experimenting to see if Blair Kinghorn was up to being the backup out-half for Scotland, Townsend has gone all-in on the Edinburgh man, jettisoning talisman Finn Russell from the squad entirely. It’s hard to understand whey any coach would want to actively exclude their most talented player, but today we hope to find out, I suppose. Of course, this fixture being outside the agreed Autumn International window means Racing 92’s Russell would be available for today in any case.
Elsewhere, Darcy Graham will bring his outstanding domestic form into onto the international stage, as will Aussie convert Jack Dempsey from the bench. New captain Jamie Ritchie is on the blindside.
Michael Hooper starts at seven for Australia, with James Slipper captaining the side from hooker. Tate McDermott is in at scrum-half to partner Bernard Foley, The bench has some serious impact, with big carrier Tupou, Fainga’a and Samu to enter the fray.
Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Zander Fagerson; Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie (capt), Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson; Ali Price, Blair Kinghorn; Duhan van der Merwe, Sione Tuipulotu, Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham; Ollie Smith.
Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Glen Young, Jack Dempsey, George Horne, Ross Thompson, Damien Hoyland.
James Slipper (capt), David Porecki, Allan Ala’alatoa; Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville; Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini; Tate McDermott, Bernard Foley; Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway; Tom Banks.
Replacements: Folau Fainga’a, Matt Gibbon, Taniela Tupou, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell.
Welcome to Murrayfield for the opening match of the Autumn Internationals in the Scottish capital.
All the chat coming into the game has been about the absence of Finn Russell from Gregor Townsend’s squad; the ringmaster locked out of his own big top. While this is understandably the story taking up the the column inches and the Twitter snitches, it has meant there’s been little consideration that Scotland will be gunning for the fourth win in a row against the Wallabies, something not achieved by the boys in blue in nearly a century of trying.
For their part, Australia have had a difficult 2022 so far. Results and injuries have not gone their way for the most part and this has seen then drop to ninth in the World Rankings. However, actually watching Dave Rennie’s men play tells a different story they’ve been promising in may periods this year and give you the impression they are are team on the upwards curve.
They’ll hope to demonstrate that today against a Scotland side coming in as favourites for the win.