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Scotland Make Four Changes For Dublin Trip

Scotland Make Four Changes For Dublin Trip

Scotland have made four changes to their starting line-up and a further positional switch as they prepare to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations first round clash.

2013 Lion Stuart Hogg returns at full-back having missed the November internationals through injury.

The other alterations to the Scottish team that lined out against Australia see Alex Dunbar preferred to Nick De Luca in the centre, Tim Swinson gets the nod over Grant Gilchrist in the second row and a fourth Glasgow Warriors player, Ryan Wilson, is chosen at blindside flanker instead of Johnnie Beattie.

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For Dunbar, Swinson and Wilson it is their first RBS 6 Nations start and the same goes for Duncan Taylor at inside centre.

Sean Maitland, who scored on his first outing in the Championship in the opening game last season, moves to the right wing to accommodate Hogg in the number 15 jersey.

Scotland will be captained by Kelly Brown, who will be winning his 61st cap, thus equalling Doddie Weir’s record as the most-capped product of the Melrose club.

Scott Johnson, Scotland’s interim head coach, acknowledged that it had been a tough selection, saying: “The forwards especially were a hard pick but we’re happy. We believe we’ve got a good combination to go in against formidable opposition.”

Johnson reflected that Scotland’s back row selection increased their lineout options and hailed the inclusion of the 24-year-old Wilson for the additional athleticism he can bring.

In the backs he is looking forward to his back-three making their mark, adding: “We can go the length with that back-three. For a seasoned campaigner Sean Lamont has some leg still.

“His form over the last 24 months for us has been outstanding, especially his work off the ball. Like something in my wine cabinet he’s certainly getting better with age!”

Johnson is acutely aware that Scotland have not won their first game in the Championship since France were defeated at Murrayfield in 2006 and believes this selection can end that sequence.

SCOTLAND Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Sunday, February 2, kick-off 3pm):

Player/Club/Caps –

15 – Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 15
14 – Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) 8
13 – Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) 3
12 – Duncan Taylor (Saracens) 6
11 – Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 82
10 – Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 8
9 – Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh) 24
1 – Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) 13
2 – Ross Ford (Edinburgh) 71
3 – Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 23
4 – Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) 3
5 – Jim Hamilton (Montpellier) 50
6 – Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) 4
7 – Kelly Brown (Saracens) 60 (capt)
8 – David Denton (Edinburgh) 17


16 – Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) 3
17 – Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh) 30
18 – Geoff Cross (Edinburgh) 23
19 – Richie Gray (Castres Olympique) 33
20 – Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 26
21 – Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 64
22 – Matt Scott (Edinburgh) 16
23 – Max Evans (Castres Olympique) 37