Scotland make four changes to team to play Ireland 6 months ago

Scotland make four changes to team to play Ireland

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his side to play Ireland on Saturday with wing Sean Maitland, prop Simon Berghan, back-row Josh Strauss and lock Jonny Gray all brought into the starting side.

Scotland opened their campaign with a 33-20 win over Italy in Murrayfield last weekend and will look for their first consecutive home wins over Ireland since 2013.

Scotland have won three of their last four home matches against Ireland and they will be looking to make that four wins from five with Blair Kinghorn and Ben Toolis both moving to the bench while Willem Nel (calf) and Sam Skinner (ankle) miss out through injury.

The bench sees four further changes, where uncapped prop D’arcy Rae takes the replacement spot vacated by Berghan, experienced Glasgow Warriors pair Fraser Brown (hooker) and Pete Horne (centre) return from injury to feature for the first time in the campaign, and fellow Warrior Rob Harley is drafted in from outwith the wider squad into the match-day 23.

Townsend said after his selection that Ireland will probably represent his side's biggest test of the Six Nations and that they must produce one of their best ever performances against the defending Six Nations champions at Murrayfield this Saturday.

“It’s massive. It’s probably the biggest challenge we’ll face in the Guinness Six Nations, given the way Ireland have been playing in the last few years – they are Grand Slam Champions and the number-two team in the world.

"They’re very well coached, have some outstanding players and will test us in a number of areas – defensively, set-piece, attack and kicking game. It is a challenge that brings an extra edge and focus to training and something our players relish taking on.

"Our players have risen to the challenge of playing New Zealand, England and other world-class teams and they are aware that we must rise once more to produce one of our best-ever performances for 80 minutes.”

Scotland team to play Ireland in the Guinness Six Nations

Saturday 9 February, kick-off 2.15pm – live on BBC

15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 66 caps

14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 37 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 41 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 67 caps

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
2. Stuart McInally VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
3. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
6. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
8. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 18 caps

Substitutes
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
18. D’arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
20. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
22. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 8 caps

Squad players unavailable through injury: George Horne (shoulder), Lee Jones (knee), John Hardie (knee), Willem Nel (calf), Sam Skinner (ankle).