Scotland v South Africa
Laidlaw replaces Brown as skipper for Boks
November 13, 2013
Jonny Gray could make his Scotland debut on Saturday © PA Photos
Brown started against Japan last weekend but Scott Johnson has opted to rest his skipper and try out John Barclay at openside. "That was part of the plan, he was never going to play this game," Johnson said. "We predicted the Japanese game was going to be fast and furious, the back row would have done a lot of mileage. We knew that and we have a six-day turnaround at the back end.
"So it's us being half-smart, and it gives us the opportunity to see other combinations. Kelly will be seen in the Aussie game. That's just the way we have to do things. We have got to be smart here."
Richie Gray returns to the locks and his brother Jonny could make his debut for the national side if he gets his chance from the replacements. It has been a turbulent week for Scotland on the back of their comfortable victory over Japan as they had Matt Scott ruled out for the rest of the autumn series. In his place, Saracens' Duncan Taylor comes in at inside centre.
Taylor is the only change to the backs with the rest coming in the pack. Alongside Richie Gray in the locks comes Jim Hamilton while Alasdair Dickinson and Moray Low are the props with Euan Murray unavailable and Ryan Grant benched. In the back-row, John Barclay replaces Brown who is rested.
Laidlaw will captain the side, following his stint as skipper in two matches during the summer in South Africa. In the replacements, Scott Lawson, Johnnie Beattie, Chris Cusiter and Max Evans are added to the squad with 159 caps between them.
Interim Scotland coach Johnson explained the selection, saying: "I made it clear from the outset that there would be some constants in our selection for these three autumn tests, while we'd also look at both form and to the future.
"Injuries have also affected our plans this week but the game is attritional so you just have to get on with it. We met South Africa a mere 151 days ago in Nelspruit and they've certainly played some quality footy since we gave them a bit of a scare that day.
"I was proud of a lot of what we did in Nelspruit but in this business you have to perform for the entire game and we didn't do that in the match during the summer. As I said last weekend and as you'll hear me say without fear or favour at every game, the contact area will be vital this weekend and we have to improve there against a very clinical South African side."
Sean Maitland, Tommy Seymour, Nick de Luca, Duncan Taylor, Sean Lamont, Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton, Alasdair Strokosch, John Barclay, David Denton
Replacements: Scott Lawson, Ryan Grant, Geoff Cross, Jonny Gray, John Beattie, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Weir, Max Evans
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd