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Scotland makes six changes for Australia test

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Associated Press
6/2/2012 9:35:34 AM
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NEWCASTLE, Australia -- Scotland has made six changes and named three new caps for its one-off test against Australia on Tuesday following the team's poor Six Nations campaign that ended with a loss to Italy.

Glasgow prop Ryan Grant will make his debut in Newcastle, while uncapped players Tom Brown (outside back) and Tom Ryder (lock) have been named on the bench.

Omitted from the team that lost 13-6 to Italy in Rome in March are Jon Welsh, Geoff Cross, Jim Hamilton and David Denton in the pack and Max Evans and Graeme Morrison in the backs.

They are replaced by Grant, Euan Murray, Al Kellock, Alasdair Strokosch, Joe Ansbro and Scott respectively. In a positional switch, John Barclay will move from blindside flanker to No. 8.

"We were all very disappointed by the results in the Six Nations championship and this tour is about our strong collective determination to put that right, play with confidence and win back pride," Scotland coach Andy Robinson said Saturday.

"There's been an intensity to training since we've been out here which has pleased me but, as ever, it's about delivering a consistent 80-minute performance and eliminating the sort of errors that have cost us dearly if we are to beat Australia."

There are eight players from the side which beat Australia 9-8 at Murrayfield in 2009, including Ross Ford as captain.

"When we last played Australia three years ago, it was one of the most courageous performances of scramble defence I have ever seen," Robinson said. "Four times, Australia were over our line only to be held up and it will require that uncompromising resolve in Newcastle on Tuesday if we are to repeat that success."

Scotland has played 10 test matches in Australia and it has been 30 years since its last win -- at Brisbane's Ballymore in 1982.

Earlier Saturday, Scotland moved from its Sydney seaside training base of Manly to travel up the F3 freeway to Newcastle, a predominantly industrial city.

"I was here with the British and Irish Lions in 1989 and know how much it means to people in the Hunter region to host international sport," Robinson said.

"Playing the Wallabies on their own patch is always a great challenge, but it's one the Scotland team will relish."

Australia will name its team Sunday for the test, the first of four in a row for the Wallabies, with three matches against Six Nations champions Wales to follow on the succeeding weekends in June.

Earlier Saturday, Australia added ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen to its squad as cover for Western Force No. 8 Ben McCalman, who has a shoulder injury.

The 22-man Australia squad is expected to contain mostly Queensland Reds and Force players who had the weekend off due to a 15th-round bye in Super 15 rugby.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was expected to leave out many test aspirants from the New South Wales Waratahs, Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels, who all played this weekend, for the Scotland match.

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Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Joe Ansbro, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont, Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair, Ryan Grant, Ross Ford (captain), Euan Murray, Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, Alasdair Strokosch, Ross Rennie, John Barclay. Reserves: Scott Lawson, Jon Welsh, Tom Ryder, Richie Vernon, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Weir, Tom Brown.

Ryan Grant (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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