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Ross Ford wins his 100th cap vs Australia

Press AssociationPress Association 10/11/2016

Scotland hooker Ross Ford will win his 100th cap when the Dark Blues take on Australia at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Edinburgh forward will become just the third Scot to reach three figures, joining previous centurions Chris Paterson and Sean Lamont.

He will be joined in a new-look front row for the Wallabies clash by debutant Allan Dell and Zander Fagerson, who makes his first international start.

Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson and Stormers centre Huw Jones will also start a Test match for the first time as Scotland open their autumn campaign, while stand-off Finn Russell returns to Vern Cotter's starting line-up after missing the summer tour of Japan with a head injury.

Ford made his international debut when he replaced Gordon Bulloch against the Wallabies in Edinburgh in 2004 and has been a mainstay of the Scotland front row since his return to the jersey two years later, starting 83 of his Test appearances to date.

Ford's extensive experience could prove invaluable this weekend as he prepares to pack down between club-mate Dell - who starts in the loosehead berth - and once-capped, 20-year-old tighthead Fagerson.

Cotter said: "Congratulations first to Ross Ford on reaching this special milestone. It's fantastic for him and his family that he'll achieve it in front of the home fans at BT Murrayfield, who I'm sure will give him a great reception.

"To play 100 Test matches for your country is an incredible achievement, with his lasting dedication keeping him among the best hookers in the world for a decade.

"He is a consummate professional and, at 32, he has plenty left to give in a Scotland jersey."

Saturday's match offers Scotland the chance to gain revenge for last year's controversial World Cup quarter-final defeat.

Cotter added: "It's been eight months since we last played at home so the players are desperate to get out there and put in another winning performance in front of our home support.

"We've prepared well over the past couple of weeks in camp, with the players working hard technically and tactically for what will undoubtedly be a tough Test match against one of the world's top teams.

"We must not relent in our pursuit of success and to do the Scottish people proud."

John Barclay and Ryan Wilson complete the loose forwards with the increasingly ever-present partnership of brothers Jonny and Richie Gray filing into the second row.

In the backs, Greig Laidlaw and Russell will reform their pivotal partnership while Alex Dunbar - another to miss the tour through injury - joins Jones in a new-look centre partnership.

The starting line-up is completed with the selection of Stuart Hogg, Tim Visser and Sean Maitland in the back three, with Tommy Seymour unavailable for personal reasons.

Scotland team to face Australia:

Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser, Finn Russell , Greig Laidlaw (capt), Allan Dell, Ross Ford, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray , John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.

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