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Scotland1Scotland award a debut to wing Sean Maitland, give a first start in six years to his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Dougie Hall at hooker and recall No 8 Johnnie Beattie in their team for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against England at Twickenham.

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Interim head coach Scott Johnson has made six changes and one additional positional switch from the team that ended the EMC Tests with defeat to Tonga in Aberdeen for the Calcutta Cup clash.

In addition to Maitland, Sean Lamont moves from wing to centre, Ruaridh Jackson returns at stand-off with Greig Laidlaw starting an international for the first time at scrum-half, the position in which he was reared and in which his uncle, Roy Laidlaw, scored a superb solo try in Scotland’s last Twickenham victory in 1983.

In the pack Ryan Grant is restored from injury at loosehead, Hall begins a Scotland game for the first time since the 2007 Championship match against Ireland at Murrayfield and completing the front-row Euan Murray becomes the 33rd Scot to reach the landmark of 50 or more caps.

Jim Hamilton is recalled to partner Richie Gray in the second-row and, in the back-row, Johnnie Beattie is back on duty for the first time since the pre RWC warm-up match against Ireland at Murrayfield in 2011.

Johnson said: “I’ve spoken about the importance of this competition, the history and tradition of it, and you couldn’t get a more mouth-watering opening than the game between international rugby’s oldest foes.

“Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future.

“Sean Maitland is very proud to be pulling on the Scotland jersey for the first time.  His family will be rapt because they raised him in New Zealand always reminding him of his Scottish heritage, getting up in the early hours of the morning to watch both the Five and Six Nations games on the TV.

“He’s shown he can play footy with the best of them and the impact he’s made since arriving at Glasgow in the autumn has underlined what we’d seen of him playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

“I’ve named Greig and Ryan as vice-captains because they’re both quality rugby players and the sort of blokes that I reckon can add to the leadership mix.

“I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of Johnnie Beattie.  He brings dynamism to our back-row and we’re looking for him to bring that to bear on Saturday.”

Scotland team to play England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Twickenham on Saturday 2 February, kick-off 4pm

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 10 caps, 1 try, 5 points

14 Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
13 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) 71 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) 7 caps
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) 5 caps, 4 tries, 20 points

10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 15 caps, 2 conversions, 2 penalties, 2 drop-goals, 16 points
9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) vice-captain 13 caps, 2 tries, 11 conversions and 22 penalties, 98 points

1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors) vice-captain, 5 caps
2 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 39 caps, 1 try, 5 points
3 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors) 49 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks) 27 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester Rugby) 41 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) 30 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) captain, 52 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
8 Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier) 16 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Substitutes:
16 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) 63 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
17 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 15 caps
18 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby) 17 caps, 1 try, 5 points
19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 47 caps, 1 try, 5 points
20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby) 9 caps
21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps, 1 try, 5 points
22 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) 2 caps, 1 conversion, 2 points
23 Max Evans (Castres) 32 caps, 3 tries, 15 points

Not considered due to injury: Peter Horne, Chris Cusiter, Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby) and Scott Lawson (London Irish).

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).  Assistant referees: Jerome Garces (France) and Francisco Pastrana (Argentina).  TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

Sean Maitland, Johnnie Beattie and Dougie Hall will start against England on Saturday
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7 Responses to Six Nations: Scotland team to face England announced

  • 1

    So Scotland team is announced – hot off the press – haven’t even had time to go through whole team, looks like we have it here before quite a few of the other major rugby news sites!

  • 2

    Some interesting selections and in general good to see Johnson been true to his word and picking on form, the players coming back into the starting line up – Beattie and Hall have been in good form lately and in Hall’s case so much that he should be starting ahead of Ford but in the past Ford has been chosen on reputation so its good to see the coach making this big call.

  • 3

    No fetchers but guess that’s to be expected with Ross Rennie out injured and I think John Barclay has had some injury hassles this season. Pity for Richie Vernon to miss out as think he has been doing well for Sale Sharks lately scoring a few tries and think he is a good fast skilful loose forward who is a good bet to come on as substitute but he was cut from the extended squad earlier anyway and one can’t really argue against Denton on the bench as his form has gone up in the second half of the season so far.

  • 4

    Duncan Weir had been cut from the extended squad but now is on the bench probably in place of Peter Horne who was still in the squad but now listed as injured.

  • 5

    Al Kellock has been leading Glasgow so well so a pity he is not starting but he is a good insurance option to have on the bench. The back 3 pick themself with Lamont shifted to centre to add his bulk there, will be great to see how the back 3 gel. Jackson at flyhalf has been getting his backline quite well so hopefully the ball will also get distributed well by the centres to release the wings.

  • 6

    So the omens are good, the last time Scotland beat England at Twickenham, way back in 1983, a Laidlaw was also playing for Scotland at scrumhalf.

  • 7

    I like Lammnt shifting to center and the inclusion of Maitland.
    Hope Tim Visser builds on his recent performances


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