McDermott and Fowley have never played together, let alone started at international level, but a favorable performance at Murrayfield could see Rennie stick with the Queensland-NSW halves combination for the entire tour.
The seeds of a World Cup partnership may have been laid this week in Saint-Etienne, home to Australia’s two World Cup matches.
“It’s going to be really interesting to hang out with him,” McDermott said. “All I have to do is give him an early ball and we’ll be right. I got a taste of Quade [Cooper] last year and I started watching Bernie. His impact on this team was massive.”
Rennie has made a number of changes to the Wallabies side that capitulated in a 40-14 defeat against the All Blacks nearly five weeks ago.
Michael Hooper returns to Australia’s No.7 starting XV for the first time in 105 days after a layoff, as reported on Thursday.
Hooper’s return means Pete Sam has been out of luck despite an excellent Rugby Championship campaign. Samu will come off the bench, with Jed Holloway (#6) and Rob Valletini (#8) completing a balanced back row.
“We think he’s ready to go … he’s jumping out of his skin,” said Rennie of Hooper. “He’s really in a good place. He’s been training well this week and is excited to get back into it.
“Pistol [Samu] phenomenal off the bench. He was great in Melbourne [but] in Oakland he fell on several tackles. Jed will call out the ruler, so that gives us another bowstring. Pete can come in and cover anywhere. His impact on games from 30 to the end was a real point of difference.”
Elsewhere, Australia went with an inexperienced second row of Nick Frost and Cadairn Neville – with eight Test caps between them – while Queensland utility Jock Campbell is set to make his debut off the bench despite a setback in the gym this week .
“He [was told of the] news to wear Game Ready on his ankle because he tripped in the bloody gym and tweaked his ankle a bit,” Rennie said. “He didn’t train on Tuesday but he did everything he could to make things work.
“This is a great story. He wasn’t part of the academy system, people told him he wasn’t fast enough or big enough, and he was on the verge of representing his country. He had a great year.”
Tom Banks is at full-back after recovering from a broken arm, while Andrew Kellaway and Tom Wright are named on the wings.
The Wallabies have lost their last three Tests to Scotland dating back to 2017.
“I had a bit of a taste of Murrayfield last year and the anthem is sensational. 53,000 of them are on,” McDermott said. “The Scots are very hard to beat there … they’re a completely different beast. We’ve got to make sure we’re there from the first whistle.”
If the Wallabies win, don’t expect McDermott to celebrate with a beer in hand. It’s a little-known fact that the Queenslander is one of the few players in the tour group who isn’t interested in alcohol.
“It’s been a personal decision since I was young,” McDermott said. “If you grow up on the Sunshine Coast … you don’t find too many of them. I didn’t enjoy the taste at first, and I haven’t felt the need to since. I like to think I’m pretty outgoing as it is.’