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Gregor Townsend rings changes for test against Australia

Eight players come into the Scotland team as the head coach shuffles his pack.

Opportunity: Gregor Townsend says there is competition for places.
Opportunity: Gregor Townsend says there is competition for places. SNS Group

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made sweeping changes to his side to face Australia, bringing in eight new players and switching three positions from the win over Italy.

Greig Tonks and Lee Jones are among those coming into the side, while Tim Visser, Ross Ford and Damien Hoyland, three of the four try-scorers against Italy, drop out.

Townsend has changed the two front-row units completely. Jonny Gray comes in to partner Ben Toolis in the second row while Hamish Watson will start at flanker after recovering from injury.

John Barclay will shift to blindside with Ryan Wilson moving to number eight. Duncan Taylor reverts to centre alongside Alex Dunbar.

"On this tour, we were always keen to make sure that players who were close to selection got an opportunity," Townsend said.

"A few got it last week, a few who were close to selection get it this week.

"When you put a squad together, you first put a team together that you believe can win. You want to see which players are able to perform at test level and give them that opportunity - it is up to them after that."

"On this tour, I do believe, a lot of positions are very competitive."

If Ford comes off the bench, he will earn his 109th cap, equalling the Scottish record held by Chris Paterson.

"It is a brilliant achievement," said Townsend. "It shows a great level of consistency in a game that has changed a lot.

"Not only that but he has been one of our best performers. Two tries last week were pretty good as well.

"This is a great achievement but we also believe he can carry on playing and have a big role up to and including the World Cup."

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