Scotland make two changes for Ireland visit

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has made two changes to the team that lost to England for this weekend’s Six Nations match against Ireland.

Scotland are last in the Six Nations standings and need to beat Ireland to stand a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon after they fell to Italy earlier in the tournament.

Both of Cotter’s changes are promotions from the bench with back-row Adam Ashe starting on the blind-side flank in place of Robert Harley, and Ryan Grant switching roles with Alasdair Dickinson – who starts on the bench – for his first start of the championship.

The settled selection sees the national team’s backline return to start another match, with captain Greig Laidlaw partnering stand-off Finn Russell in front of Glasgow Warriors trio Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour, and Edinburgh Rugby duo Matt Scott and Dougie Fife, the latter making his home debut.

In the pack, tight-head Euan Murray makes history, alongside Ross Ford and Grant, overtaking Allan Jacobsen’s record as the most capped Scotland prop with a 66th appearance.

Jonny Gray and Jim Hamilton will again start in the boiler house, with David Denton and Blair Cowan returning to the back-row, the latter one of six Scotland players to hold a starting spot in every match of the Championship, as well as Bennett, Ford, Gray, Hogg and Laidlaw.

The only other change is among the match-day substitutes – Tim Visser replaces Johnnie Beattie, reverting the selection to a five-three split among the forward and back replacements.

Scotland head coach, Vern Cotter, said, “There is a strong culture in this group. Players want to do well and set the standards high.

“We’ve played with a huge amount of spirit and courage, are putting teams under pressure and are scoring tries, which is encouraging, but we want to go one better this Saturday against Ireland, last year’s champions.”

He continued,”Both ourselves and Ireland are hugely motivated for this game.

“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.”


15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Dougie Fife , 13 Mark Bennett , 12 Matt Scott , 11 Tommy Seymour ,10 Finn Russell , 9 Greig Laidlaw , 8 David Denton , 7 Blair Cowan , 6 Adam Ashe , 5 Jonny Gray , 4 Jim Hamilton , 3 Euan Murray , 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant

Replacements : 16 Fraser Brown , 17 Alasdair Dickinson , 18 Geoff Cross , 19 Tim Swinson , 20 Rob Harley , 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne , 22 Greig Tonks , 23 Tim Visser

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