Vern Cotter has made two changes to the starting line up for Saturday’s match against Ireland at Murrayfield. Both changes come in the pack with Adam Ashe taking Rob Harley’s place at blind-side and Ryan Grant taking over from Alasdair Dickinson who drops to the bench. This will be Grant’s first starting appearance of the championship.
Jim Hamilton and Jonny Gray resume their partnership in the locks and David Denton maintains his place at 8 with Blair Cowan carrying on at 7. On paper, it appears safe to say that Vern Cotter is expecting a physical match in and around the break down, and has made his selection accordingly.
In the back line, it’s a case of as you were from the England match. Laidlaw and Russell carry on at 9 and 10 and Matt Scott has shaken off his dead leg to line up next to Mark Bennett in midfield. Dougie Fife, Tommy Seymour and the ever-present Stuart Hogg make up the remainder of starting XV.
On the substitute’s bench, there’s no place for Johnnie Beattie as Cotter has reverted back to a more traditional 5 forwards, 3 backs set up. With this in mind, Tim Visser comes back in to the fold for Dougie Fife.
Vern Cotter, coming up against his old coaching assistant Joe Schmidt for the first time, took time to discuss the players and said “There is a strong culture in this group. Players want to do well and set the standards high”.
He went on to add “Make no mistake, they are coming to Edinburgh believing they can win the title, while we will be going out there desperate to throw everything at our last Championship match to win the game and repay the support of our fans.”
Scotland Team to face Ireland at BT Murrayfield (21 March, kick-off 2.30pm)
15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); 31 caps, 9 tries, 1 pen, 48 points
14 Dougie Fife (Edinburgh Rugby); 5 caps, 1 try, 5 points
13 Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors); 6 tries, 2 tries, 10 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby); 24 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
11 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); 16 caps, 6 tries, 30 points
10 Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors); 8 caps, 1 con, 2 points
9 Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester); 38 caps, 3 tries, 40 cons, 80 pens, 335 points
1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors); 21 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby); 84 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors); 65 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Jim Hamilton (Saracens); 60 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); 12 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors); 4 caps
7 Blair Cowan (London Irish); 10 caps, 1 try, 5 points
8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby); 24 caps
16 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors); 7 caps
17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby); 43 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
18 Geoff Cross (London Irish); 39 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
19 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors); 11 caps
20 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors); 14 caps, 1 try, 5 points
21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby); 4 caps
22 Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby); 3 caps
23 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby); 17 caps, 7 tries, 35 points