Seven Edinburgh players selected for Irish Test
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named seven Edinburgh players in his squad for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 2.15pm) – live on BBC.
The team selection sees an all-capital front-row once again selected as tighthead prop Simon Berghan replaces WP Nel – who drops out of the squad due to injury – to pack down alongside teammates Stuart McInally and Allan Dell.
Grant Gilchrist – who makes his 30th international appearance – is named in the second-row, while back-row Jamie Ritchie continues in the number seven shirt after impressing in last weekend’s opening round victory over Italy.
Blair Kinghorn drops to the bench after scoring a historic hat-trick five-days ago and is joined among the replacements by second-row, Ben Toolis.
Townsend said: “We picked up two injuries from last week with WP (Nel) and Sam (Skinner) missing out, which is disappointing for us and them, but have had a boost with a number of proven Test players returning from injury and available to us this week.
"To have that calibre of player and experience around the group in the build-up this week, and during a game of such magnitude, is very important.”
Sean Maitland forms a familiar back-three with fellow British & Irish Lions Tommy Seymour and full-back Stuart Hogg, who will bring a combined 150 caps and 49 tries into their 18th Scotland Test start as a trio this Saturday.
Centre Sam Johnson has been handed the chance to build on an impressive debut against Italy alongside fellow Warrior Huw Jones, while influential half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell also return.
The reselection of Dell and McInally alongside Berghan means an all-Edinburgh front-row will take to the field once more, in spite of Nel’s absence.
Behind them in the scrum, Gilchrist starts alongside Gray, while Ryan Wilson and Ritchie join Strauss in the back-row.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Test, Townsend added: “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
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