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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Back Rower Blake To Start For Scotland

Back Rower Blake To Start For Scotland

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will hand 22-year-old back rower Hugh Blake his first international cap against Ireland when the sides clash at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).

After his December arrival, Hugh Blake was an unused squad member during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations, but impressed for Edinburgh and the Scotland Sevens team before earning a move west to Glasgow in the summer.

Blake’s Warriors team-mate, Mike Cusack, could also make his Test debut as one of the Scots’ front row replacements in Dublin.

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The Ireland game is the first in a four-match schedule to be played on consecutive Saturday, as the extended 47-man Scotland squad gear up for the Rugby World Cup. They will play Italy in back-to-back fixtures in Turin and Edinburgh before concluding their preparations against France in Paris on Saturday, September 5.

Scrum half Henry Pyrgos will start as captain for the first time against Ireland, featuring alongside out-half Greig Tonks who will make his first start for his country since switching from his once favoured full-back position at the start of the 2014/15 season.

Peter Horne will resume his GUINNESS PRO12 title-winning centre partnership with fellow Warrior Richie Vernon, who makes his first appearance for Scotland since transforming from a number 8 two years ago.

The backs are completed by Sean Lamont, Tim Visser and Ruaridh Jackson, the latter set to make his second appearance at full-back for Scotland.

In the pack, a stomach bug has prevented Stuart McInally from making his debut alongside props Ryan Grant and Jon Welsh, meaning Fraser Brown starts with Ross Ford coming into the squad on the bench.

Jim Hamilton and the fit-again Grant Gilchrist, who returns for his first cap since skippering Scotland last summer, form the second row while, in the back row, newcomer Blake is joined Blair Cowan on the blindside flank and David Denton at number 8.

SCOTLAND Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2015 GUINNESS Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, August 15, kick-off 5pm):

15. Ruaridh Jackson (Wasps)
14. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
13. Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors)
12. Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors)
11. Tim Visser (Harlequins)
10. Greig Tonks (Edinburgh)
9. Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) (capt)
1. Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)
3. Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons)
4. Jim Hamilton (Saracens)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)
6. Blair Cowan (London Irish)
7. Hugh Blake (Glasgow Warriors) *
8. David Denton (Edinburgh)

Replacements:

16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh)
17. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors)
18. Mike Cusack (Glasgow Warriors) *
19. Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors)
20. John Barclay (Scarlets)
21. Sam Hidalgo-­Clyne (Edinburgh)
22. Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
23. Matt Scott (Edinburgh)

* Denotes uncapped player