AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL TESTS
Scotland will renew their rivalry with two leading teams from the Southern Hemisphere in their 2021 Autumn Internationals. The fixtures will see the home side take on Australia, current world champions South Africa and tier 2 side, Japan.
It’s been ten years since Scotland last downed the world’s number one ranked side, the Springboks, on home soil, though there have been some closely contested battles both home and away in the interim. The last time South Africa came to BT Murrayfield was in 2018, when the Scots narrowly lost to the team that would go onto to lift the Rugby World Cup in Japan the following year. Tries from Peter Horne (pictured above) and Hamish Watson weren’t quite enough, and the Scots were squeezed out 20-26.
It was a different picture the previous year when Scotland ran in eight tries (there were 12 scored in total) in an astonishing 53-24 win over Australia, then the third ranked team in the world (see picture below of Byron McGuigan scoring one of his two tries). Scotland will be aiming for a hat-trick of successive victories against the Wallabies having won their last two encounters, at BT Murrayfield and in Sydney, both in 2017. Currently ranked seventh in the world (one ahead of Scotland) the Wallabies are coached by Dave Rennie, formerly head coach at Glasgow Warriors. Rennie is assisted by the former Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor.
Scotland and Japan have met three times since the last time they played at BT Murrayfield, in 2013. Scotland toured Japan in the Summer of 2016 and won a tough two-Test series. Then, in the Rugby World Cup in Japan three years later, the hosts beat Ireland, Samoa and Russia before beating Scotland in the winner-take-all final pool game of the tournament. The game in November will be Japan’s second visit to BT Murrayfield this year, as they are taking on the British & Irish Lions on Saturday 26 June as part of the Lions’ preparations for the tour of South Africa.