White and Blair return for Scotland

Scotland coach Frank Hadden has named his side to face Ireland in a World Cup warm-up this Saturday that features long term injury absentees Jason White and Mike Blair.

White returns to captain the side from blind side flank after recovering from a knee injury he sustained in the November internationals and which forced him out of the Six Nations. Blair will take his usual scrum-half berth with his understudy Chris Cusiter on the bench.

In a surprise move Hadden has named Chris Paterson at fly-half, his first outing in the ten jersey since 2004 when France visited Murrayfield. Paterson will however become only the fourth Scottish player to reach 75 caps on Saturday.

Simon Taylor, who has recently signed with Stade Francais, and Allister Hogg complete the back-row alongside White, which means there is no place in the squad for Dave Callam who made such an impression in the Six Nations.

In the centres Rob Dewey, another to have left Scotland in the summer, will partner Glasgow’s Andrew Henderson with Simon Webster and Sean Lamont occupying the wing spots.

Hadden is aware he needs to look at options with the World Cup just a month away, but at the same time wants to keep the focus on winning the game.

“Inevitably much will be read into this selection given the proximity to the Rugby World Cup and the trimming of our squad next Tuesday to the final 30 who will be on duty for the tournament,” Hadden said.

“But what’s uppermost in my mind, as ever, is picking a team to win an international match as we look to generate momentum going into the World Cup.”

He was also happy to explain the slightly surprising selection of Paterson at fly-half.

“At the beginning of the last Six Nations campaign we said Chris Paterson was not ready to start at stand-off,” he added.

“At the end of the Six Nations we said he was probably ready to start, so let’s have a look at him there.”

Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Rob Dewey, 12 Andrew Henderson, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Chris Paterson, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Allister Hogg, 6 Jason White (c), 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Fergus Thomson, 17 Craig Smith, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Kelly Brown, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Dan Parks, 22 Hugo Southwell.

Date: Saturday August 11th, 2007
Time: 13.30 (14.30 GMT)
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)
Touch-judges: Wayne Barnes (England) and Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Television match official: Rob Debney (England)


365 Digital

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