Fiji

Visser qualifies for his kilt

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 10:44
Tim-visser-baabaas-630

The Scotland team to play Fiji in Lautoka on Saturday shows two changes from that which posted the historic victory over Australia last week.

The alternations are both in the backs - with Max Evans replacing Sean Lamont on the right wing and 25-year-old Dutch-born Tim Visser, who now qualifies for Scotland through the IRB's three-year residency rule, being introduced for a first cap in place of Joe Ansbro on the left wing.

When you run Zeewolde through Internet search engines - the town less then three miles from the North Sea which was Visser's birthplace - seeking information on its famous residents, the answer is there are none!

Visser, who has improved year on year - in the days of interminable analysis that's some feat - since he arrived at Edinburgh Rugby in 2009, will surely change that scenario.

In the 1960s Frans ten Bos, born in Richmond, Surrey of Dutch ancestry won 17 caps for Scotland and scored a famous try when Wales were beaten in Cardiff in 1962.  Visser has been prolific in crossing the whitewash but he's sensible enough to know that international rugby will be a step-up but one he's ready for.

Both Lamont and Ansbro have been unable to do any team training since the match in Newcastle - the former due to a rib injury, the latter from the head wound he sustained in the immediate post-match celebrations.

Evans, who arrived with the party in Sydney last Wednesday, has had a strong finish to the season for his French club, Castres, and is relishing contributing to Scotland's cause this weekend.

Head coach Andy Robinson has delayed naming his substitutes - they will be announced on Thursday - partly due to a combination that Lamont might be fit to be included in the 22 and also from the desire to ensure the remainder of the squad continues to be energised as the battle to be in the matchday 22 is a live issue.

Another factor, as the team will be playing in the searing heat of Lautoka - not for nothing is the port known as the “burning west” - is that the party has been affected by a stomach bug, which forced five players to sit out training Tuesday.

Robinson is looking for the Scots to play a structured game and believes that the form Fiji have shown in both their games in the Pacific Nations Cup - their win against Japan and their narrow loss to Samoa - underlines that every play, irrespective of its whereabouts on the pitch, is regarded as a scoring opportunity by the Fijians.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 John Barclay, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Alastair Kellock, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: TBC

Date: Saturday, June 16
Venue: Churchill Park, Lautoka
Kick-off: 14.00 (03.00 BST; 02.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith, Andrew Lees (both Australia)

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