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Referee appointments for Autumn Nations Series Round 1

Referee appointments for Autumn Nations Series Round 1

Luke Pearce

Luke Pearce

Scotland host Australia at BT Murrayfield this Saturday as the Autumn Nations Series kicks off with a bang.

England’s Luke Pearce will be the man in the middle in Edinburgh as the Wallabies look to arrest a three-game losing streak against Gregor Townsend’s men.

Pearce will be ably assisted by fellow Englishmen Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley, with Stuart Terheege taking on TMO duties.

The last time Australia took on Scotland and won was back in 2016 when Tevita Kuridrani struck in the 76th minute to steal a 23-22 victory in the Scottish capital.

The next time the two sides met saw Scotland leap up to fourth in the world rankings, as Duncan Taylor, Hamish Watson and Finn Russell boosted the tourists to a 24-19 victory in Sydney in 2017.

Russell will play no part of this year’s clash, with the Racing 92 fly-half dropped from Townsend’s Autumn Nations Series squad.

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But former skipper Michael Hooper returns to Dave Rennie’s travelling group after the flanker pulled out of the Rugby Championship due to personal reasons.

Australia came within seconds of victory over New Zealand in Round 5 of the Championship (39-37) and will be hoping for a confidence-boosting autumn going into a World Cup year.

They have five opportunities to test out new formulas, facing Grand Slam winners France, Italy, world number one Ireland and Wales before the end of November.

Scotland, meanwhile, host Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina at BT Murrayfield to round off a mixed year.

Townsend saw his side finish fourth in the Guinness Six Nations after wins over Italy and England, before a nail-biting tour of Argentina was decided by three points in favour of the home side.

A last-gasp Emiliano Boffelli try and conversion in Santiago del Estero was all that separated the teams and Scotland will be eager to avenge that 34-31 defeat on 19 November.

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