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Rugby Park favourite to host match with Tonga

International rugby is to return to the west of Scotland with Kilmarnock FC's appositely named Rugby Park being lined up as the venue for Scotland's autumn Test with Tonga.

Although the deal has yet to be concluded between the club and the Scottish Rugby Union, Herald Sport understands that negotiations aimed at bringing the November 22 match to the Ayrshire town are now at an advanced stage.

Murrayfield officials are keen to capitalise on rugby's rising profile in the west at a time when Glasgow Warriors are riding high in the RaboDirect PRO12, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens are about to take place at Scotstoun and the Commonwealth Games sevens event is to be staged at Ibrox in August.

In recent seasons, Scotland have established a pattern of playing the most low-key of their three autumn internationals outside Edinburgh. Pittodrie has hosted three games in the past six years - the most recent being the 2012 loss to Tonga which led to the departure of coach Andy Robinson - but a potential clash with European football dates may rule the Aberdeen ground out this year.

Only a handful of international matches have been held in the west in the past and, while a number of other grounds have been considered, it is believed that a combination of ease of access, an 18,000 capacity and modern facilities at Rugby Park make it the front-runner to stage the Tonga game. Scotland's other two autumn internationals, against Argentina and New Zealand, will take place at Murrayfield on November 8 and 15 respectively.

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