Scotland vs Argentina: Nine things you need to know

Our man in the Scottish capital rounds up the information you need ahead of today's match with the Pumas

By Jason O Callaghan in Edinburgh

What time does it get going?

Saturday 8 November 2014, kick-off 17:30 GMT, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Live TV coverage on BBC 2, radio coverage on BBC Radio Scotland.

Who’s the man with the whistle?

English referee Wayne Barnes takes charge of this match. The 35-year-old, who is also a practising barrister, is joined by a multi-nation crew with Irish referee George Clancy and mutli-lingual Italian referee Marius Mitrea running the lines, while Frenchman Eric Gauzins is the TMO.

What’s the team news?

Scotland: Greig Laidlaw will captain the side in the absence of Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist. The Gloucester scrum-half is the only member of Scotland’s baclkline who doesn’t play along the M8 at Glasgow Warriors. Uncapped centre Mark Bennett will finally make his senior debut alongside Alex Dunbar in the midfield, while Finn Russell will orchestrate proceedings ahead of club vival Duncan Weir, who starts on the bench.

Up front, Warriors tighthead prop Euan Murray, packs down with Edinburgh Rugby duo Alasdair Dickinson (loosehead) and Ross Ford (hooker). The second row is an all-Gray affair with brothers Richie and Jonny playing together for the first time, while a surprising backline sees Warriors number 8 Adam Ashe joins club team-mate Rob Harley and London Irish’s Blair Cowan.

Argentina: The Argentinian XV also contains a healthy blend of youth and experience for this test game. Juan Cruz Guillemaín is set to earn his first cap against the Scots. The Stade Francais player is one of the hottest prospects in Argentina and it is anticipated he will travel to England next year for the World Cup. Prop Marcos Ivan Ayerza will marshal the backine, with the Leicester player set to earn his 55th cap on Saturday. Argentina will be captained by Agustín Creevy. The Worchester Warriors hooker will earn his 35th international cap.

Who is in the full match-day 23?

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); Sean Maitland (Glasgow), Mark Bennett (Glasgow), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow); Finn Russell (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester Rugby, captain); Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Glasgow), Richie Gray (Castres), Jonny Gray (Glasgow),Rob Harley (Glasgow), Blair Cowan (London Irish), Adam Ashe (Glasgow).

Replacements: Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), Gordon Reid (Glasgow), Geoff Cross (London Irish), Jim Hamilton (Saracens), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan); Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow), Duncan Weir (Glasgow), Sean Lamont (Glasgow).

Argentina: Joaquín Tuculet (Grenoble), Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro), Marcelo Bosch (Saracens), Juan Martín Hernández (Toulon), Manuel Montero (Pucará), Nicolás Sánchez (Toulon), Martín Landajo (CASI); Marcos Ayerza (Leicester Tigers), Agustín Creevy (Worcester Warriors, captain), Ramiro Herrera (Castres), Tomás Lavanini (Racing Métro), Juan Cruz Guillemaín (Stade Français), Rodrigo Báez (Liceo Naval), Javier Ortega Desio (Paraná), Leonardo Senatore (Worcester).

Replacements: Matías Cortese (Liceo Naval), Lucas Noguera Paz (Lince), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (Lyon), Lucas Ponce (CUBA), Facundo Isa (Santiago); Tomás Cubelli (Belgrano), Santiago González Iglesias, (Alumni), Horacio Agulla (Bath Rugby).

Who should I keep an eye on?

Scotland: Given other experienced players were left out of the squad by Cotter, Laidlaw’s inclusion was a big vote of confidence for what the former Edinburgh captain has been doing since his switch to Kingsholm in the summer. A big season is needed from the 29-year-old as next year’s Rugby World Cup could offer the perfect swansong for a player that has given so much to the game in Scotland, but first, he will need to perform in the famous dark blue, and provide the leadership he is renowned for.

Winger Tommy Seymour is having a fantastic season for Glasgow, scoring four tries in seven matches in the Guinness PRO12 and European Champions Cup. Expect another big performance from the confident number 11.

Argentina: The Argentine rugby world will be watching with great excitement and anticipation as Guillemaín makes his international debut. The 20-year-old penned a new two-year deal with Stade Français earlier in the year and having already played in France for a year in one of the most competitive leagues, big things are expected from the young man, and he is one to watch over the next year.

What do the teams make of this match?

Scotland head coach, Vern Cotter: “We’ve got a great surface here and we’ve got players who are really excited about playing on that. Hopefully we can get some speed into the game.

“Also, I want to see my players enjoy their rugby and play for each other as best they can.

“On a personal level, I’m absolutely excited about this game, which is my first at Murrayfield, and really looking forward to see the team run out for the match and to experience the atmosphere at my first home game.”

Argentina head coach, Daniel Hourcade: “It’s going to be a tough battle.

“We are going to try to impose our style and if we succeed, things should go well.

“We had a very good Rugby Championship.

“There were obviously things to improve, but we need to maintain the level, particularly against teams that play differently – with a slower game.

“Whoever imposes his style, will surely win.”

Anything I may have missed?

Scotland head coach Cotter will take charge of his first match at Murrayfield since finally taking over from interim head coach Scott Johnson just before the summer tour and the Kiwi will be hoping to build on the feel good factor within Scottish rugby with Glasgow Warriors leading the charge as one of the most exciting clubs in Europe.

Toulon’s  Juan Martín Hernández will win his 50th cap for Los Pumas, which really should have come much sooner for the world-class utility-back had it not been for injuries and club vs country issues.

The Pumas have won in Scotland on their last four visits, in 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2009. Their only defeat in Edinburgh came in 1990 – their first visit, which was a 49-3 hammering in the same year Scotland won the Five Nations Grand Slam.

Today’s match will be the first time Scotland will have played a match on the new hybrid pitch at Murrayfield. After the surface last season was ridiculed because of a parasitic infection, Scottish Rugby ripped it up and brought in the same surface used at Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium. It looks like a carpet, plays quick which should suit the backs, and it should hold up well. It will also be the first time Scotland have appeared at the stadium since the naming rights were sold in a multi-million pound deal with BT.

What happened last time they met?

Argentina haven’t been to Edinburgh since 2009, but the two nations faced off in the summer with Scotland winning 21-19 as a late Duncan Weir penalty sealed the win.

Since that encounter, Scotland were thrashed 55-6 by South Africa in their last outing in June, while a stronger Argentina squad went through the six rounds of the Rugby Championship, securing their first win since joining the southern hemisphere big three as they defeated Australia 21-17 in Mendoza.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOXlVZDzRX0&w=560&h=315]

What do the bookies think? 

Our man Paddy Power is serving up Scotland at Evens, Argentina at 4/5, and the draw at 18/1 with plenty of other markets available across today’s Autumn internationals.

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