Fiji v Scotland: Ross Ford to eclipse Chris Paterson as record cap holder

Scotland hooker Ross Ford
Ross Ford will earn his 110th cap for Scotland

Ross Ford is poised to become Scotland's record cap holder after being named in the side to face Fiji.

The Edinburgh hooker, 33, will win his 110th cap in Suva on Saturday in the final match of the Scots' summer tour.

Glasgow's New Zealand-born centre Nick Grigg comes in for his debut in one of 12 changes as coach Gregor Townsend seeks to make it three wins from three.

Scotland beat Italy 34-13 in Singapore and followed that a week later with a 24-19 win over Australia in Sydney.

Ruaridh Jackson, at full-back, and Alex Allan, at loosehead prop, see their first action of the series.

Peter Horne deputises for Finn Russell at stand-off and there is a return from an injury-hit eight months for John Hardie at openside.

Townsend's selection means that of the large squad he brought with him, three players will not see any game-time: Edinburgh hooker George Turner, Glasgow prop D'Arcy Rae and Edinburgh scrum-half Sean Kennedy.

John Barclay (left) is Scotland captain in Greig Laidlaw's absence
John Barclay, in Greig Laidlaw's absence, "has grown into the captaincy brilliantly"

'Ford's worked well at driving standards'

At the team announcement overlooking Lami Bay in Suva, Townsend saluted Ford's contribution.

"It's deserved, he's played really well on tour, he's trained well and he's worked very well at driving the standards," he said.

"I definitely think Ross will be able to play for the next two or three seasons at least if he carries on what we've seen from him."

John Barclay continues as captain in Greig Laidlaw's absence with the Lions.

"Greig was going to be captain for this tour," said Townsend.

"He's been an excellent leader for Scotland for the last couple of seasons. John has grown into the captaincy brilliantly. He did it very well in the Six Nations and he's looking more and more comfortable on this tour.

"It's a brilliant position to be in. We've now got two clear leaders that have captained their team to success and we'll see what comes round in November."

Line-breaking 'best in the world'

Townsend believes Fiji are "the best in the world in terms of individual line-breaking ability, in terms of offloading".

"A lot of it is around their number five, Leone Nakarawa, who we know very well," said Townsend of a man he coached at Glasgow Warriors.

"You've got to make sure you defend well against them, you've got to make sure you have a line that is uniform and that you get your tackles in. When they get unstructured play and the line isn't uniform, that's when they come alive

"Their set-piece has improved a lot over the last few seasons. They're very well coached and they are playing at home. They had a win against Italy last weekend. Italy tried to slow down the tempo at times but that's not something we are looking to do. We'll try to match the pace they will aim to play at.

"They've got some brilliant players. Patrick Osborne plays for the Highlanders and Josua Tuisova plays very well for Toulon.

"They do produce some of the best backs in the world and I believe the best second row in the world in Leone. And the more we are in Fiji we see the reasons why. There's probably no country in the world where rugby is so important to the culture."

Scotland's head coach has "great memories" of trips to Fiji in the 1990s, adding: "I'm sure what the players experienced today, visiting schools and seeing the kids and the welcome they got and the joy for life and joy for rugby, will live long in the memory.

"We've have had a fantastic week, but we're here for a reason and we have to make sure we do well on Saturday."

Leone Nakarawa
Leone Nakarawa will be aiming to shine against Scotland

Teams

Fiji: K Murimurivalu; J Tuisova, A Vulivuli, J Vatubua, P Osborne; B Volavola, S Vularika; P Ravai, S Koto, K Tawake, T Cavubati; L Nakarawa, D Waqaniburotu; P Yato, A Qera (capt).

Replacements: T Talemaitoga, J Veitayaki, M Ducivaki, S Nabou, N Dawai, H Seniloli, J Stewart, B Masilevu.

Scotland: R Jackson; D Hoyland, N Grigg, D Taylor, T Visser; P Horne, H Pyrgos; A Allan, R Ford, WP Nel; T Swinson, J Gray; J Barclay (capt), J Hardie, J Strauss.

Replacements: F Brown, G Reid, Z Fagerson, B Toolis, H Watson, R Wilson, A Price, G Tonks.

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