Townsend’s first Scotland opponents confirmed

Scotland’s first series of test matches under incoming Head Coach Gregor Townsend have been confirmed for the forthcoming summer tour this June.

The national team will face a trio of opponents on consecutive Saturdays, starting with a historic test match against Italy in Singapore (June 10), followed by Australia in Sydney (June 17) and Fiji in Suva (June 24).

The match against Italy will be the first Tier One international to be played in the Lion City and looks to build on the success of their hosting of the Sevens World Series, Formula 1 Grand Prix and Super Rugby side the Sunwolves, as well Scotland’s visit to Asia to face Japan last year.

Scottish Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, is in Singapore today to sign the agreement and make the announcement to Asian and global media.

He is joined by Government officials from Singapore, Italian representatives and U.K. Government representatives.

He said: “Our first test in Singapore sees the continuation of our long-term objective of further-globalising the Scottish Rugby brand in Asia-Pacific, as part of an exciting summer tour to the southern hemisphere for the Scotland team.

“This has been built on an excellent working relationship with the Italian Rugby Federation and the Singapore Rugby Union and augments the successful partnership established in Japan last year, helping us discover new horizons in Asia for the national team.”

The second test will see the Scots return to Australia for the first time since 2012, when captain Greig Laidlaw kicked a match-winning penalty to secure the team’s first win down under since 1982 (9-6).

Recent battles between the sides have been equally tight though far more fluent on the scoring front, with the Wallabies edging out Scotland by a single point in the past two meetings; in Rugby World Cup 2015 (35-34) and the autumn test at Murrayfield in November (23-22).

Scotland will then travel to Fiji for the third and final test match.

It will be the third time the Scots have faced the Pacific Islanders on their home patch, with the nations honours-even from the 1998 test in Suva won by the hosts (51-26) and the Scottish victory in Lautoka in 2012, in which Tim Visser made a try-scoring debut (35-27).

Townsend, who takes the reins of the national team this May, is looking forward to a challenging tour for the Scotland squad.

He said: “We’re pleased to confirm our 2017 summer tour will take us to Singapore, Sydney and Suva, where our players will relish the challenges presented by tough opposition, travel and climate in a concentrated and intense period of rugby.

“Touring builds strong bonds in a group and, in addition our preparation camp, this time together will be invaluable for our new coaching team as we strive to further improve the squad.”

Scotland Summer Tour

Saturday, June 10 – Scotland v Italy; Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore (kick-off TBC)
Saturday, June 17 – Australia v Scotland; Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia (kick-off 3pm local, 5am BST)
Saturday, June 24 – Scotland v Fiji; ANZ Stadium, Suva, Fiji (kick-off TBC)