Fraser Brown scored two tries on his first appearance as Scotland captain as Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action with an eight-try victory over Georgia. With Stuart Hogg aiming to complete a trophy double with the new European champions, Exeter, Brown was handed the armband on his 51st international appearance and marked the occasion by crossing twice after lineout mauls.
Georgia could not handle the driving maul and Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally both went over from the same source. Darcy Graham had opened the scoring early on and the Scotland backs weighed in as the game opened up in the latter stages.
Graham grabbed a late second after his fellow Edinburgh wing Duhan van der Merwe grabbed a try on his Scotland debut before Blair Kinghorn got in on the act.
The hosts were on the front foot immediately as they warmed up for next Saturday’s Six Nations finale in Wales, and tThere were little over two minutes gone when Graham produced a dummy after his own tap penalty, which made space for him to claim his sixth try on his 11th international outing. Brown joined the back of the maul after his own throw and the hooker got the final touch as the Georgia pack were driven back in the 26th minute. Rory Sutherland then fed Watson to go over on the left wing.
Georgia got off the mark inside five minutes of the restart through Akaki Tabutsadze
but Scotland responded immediately as Brown produced a carbon copy of his first-half try.
The hosts made four changes, with the debutant Oli Kebble and Finn Russell, earning his 50th cap, among those coming on and Stuart McInally replacing Brown before emulating his fellow hooker with another try from the lineout maul. Russell, whose relations with Townsend have been repaired, gave Scotland a new edge and the game opened up for Scotland’s backs in the latter stages. The Racing 92 fly-half fed Van der Merwe with a close-range pass for the wide man to run through a huge gap in the 70th minute, and Graham went over after another lineout five minutes later.
Kinghorn followed up on his own kick forward in the final moments to add further gloss.
Townsend said of Russell: “He had a really positive impact on the game, as he has in training this week. He played well. I thought his passing was outstanding. He had two or three really quick passes and we were unlucky with one as we got held up over the line, but he opened up space in the defence and had a couple of good kicks too.”
“It was certainly a strong hit-out for our forwards. The ball was slippy and there were errors from both teams and we didn’t get a lot of fluency in our attack but the forward performance was excellent.
“I was really pleased with the scrum and maul – maul attack and maul defence.”