McDowall to make Scotland debut as Darge named captain
Stafford McDowall will make his senior Scotland debut in front of a home crowd at Scottish Gas Murrayfield this weekend, after the centre was selected to start his side’s clash with Italy on Saturday (29 July, 3.15pm).
The 25-year-old was one of the standout performers in a memorable 2022/23 campaign for Glasgow Warriors, with the Stewartry RFC product making 19 appearances across all competitions in Franco Smith’s first season in charge at Scotstoun.
McDowall is one of 11 Warriors selected by Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend, who hands the captaincy to Rory Darge for the first time in the flanker’s professional career.
A former Scotland U20 captain, the openside finished the season in scintillating form for the Warriors, including a streak of over 70 tackles without a single miss across April and May.
Elsewhere, Murphy Walker will make his first start for Scotland after being named at tight-head, the former Dundee Eagle and Stirling County prop having previously come off the bench against Argentina and Fiji in the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.
Scott Cummings starts in the second-row, four years on from making his Scotland debut in the warm-up Tests ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Matt Fagerson makes his 15th successive appearance in a Scotland matchday 23, the number eight having made more tackles than any other player in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.
Ali Price lines up at scrum-half, the number nine having finished the season strongly in club colours, including crossing for a try against Connacht at Scotstoun.
Glasgow skipper Kyle Steyn starts on the wing, the 29-year-old having featured in every one of Scotland’s matches in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations as well as crossing for a brace against Wales.
Ollie Smith rounds out the Glasgow contingent in the starting line up, lining up at full-back after an impressive 2022/23 campaign under Franco Smith.
A further two Warriors lie in wait amongst the replacements, with Jamie Bhatti wearing the number 17 jersey after a season that saw the prop nominated for the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season award.
Jamie Dobie completes the cohort of Warriors selected, the scrum-half looking to add to his single Scotland appearance to date.
Scotland play Italy this Saturday (29 July, 3.15pm), France (Sat 5 Aug, 3.15pm) and then Georgia (Sat 26 Aug, 5.30pm) in The Famous Grouse Nations Series at Scottish Gas Murrayfield. Secure your tickets here.
Scotland team to face Italy in The Famous Grouse Nations Series on Saturday 29 July at Scottish Gas Murrayfield, kick-off 3.15pm, live on Amazon Prime:
1. Rory Sutherland (unattached) – 23 caps
2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps
3. Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
4. Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby) – VC – 25 caps
5. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
6. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 4 caps
7. Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors) – C – 7 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 61 caps
10. Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap
11. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
12. Stafford McDowall (Glasgow Warriors) – 0 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) – VC – 42 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) – 33 caps
15. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 47 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
18. Javan Sebastian (Edinburgh Rugby) – 3 caps
19. Cameron Henderson (Leicester Tigers) – 0 caps
20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby) – 3 caps
21. Jamie Dobie (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) – 43 caps
23. Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) – 5 caps