Scotland make five changes for England

Finn Russell has signed for three years with Glasgow

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named a team with five changes for their penultimate Six Nations Championship match against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Cotter has brought back David Denton, Dougie Fife, Matt Scott, Jim Hamilton and Finn Russell to a Scotland team that are still looking for their first victory this year.

The five players come in to the starting team to replace Johnnie Beattie, knee injury victims Sean Lamont and Alex Dunbar, and Tim Swinson and Peter Horne.

“Jim comes in and will bring his physicality and understanding of English rugby to our forward pack, ” Cotter said in a statement released by Scottish Rugby.

“It’s good to have Dave Denton back as he provides us with strong ball-carrying and strong defence. He’s also a very good line-out forward and will give us a bit more physical density against a big forward pack.

“It’s been tough on Finn to sit out (due to suspension) and it’s great to have him back. He’s slotted straight back in to the structure we’re looking for.

“Finally, Dougie came on and played well against France and has had a couple of games with his club with a few work-ons.

“We’re looking for him to bring his enthusiasm, energy and high work-rate, particularly in kick-chase and receipt. “

Edinburgh number eight Denton is the only player not to have played in the Six Nations so far and replaces Beattie after recovering from a calf strain.

His Edinburgh club-mates Fife and Scott will both be making their first starts of the tournament.

Scott was drafted onto the starting XV after Dunbar succumbed to a knee injury in training on Thursday morning that saw him undergo a hospital scan.

Russell takes over from Peter Horne following a two-week suspension, while Hamilton replaces Swinson.

Meanwhile, tighthead prop Euan Marshall is due to equal Allan Jacobsen’s appearance record for a Scotland prop by collecting his 65th cap.

“This is a very important game, ” Cotter added. “It will be played away from home at a very intense level and will allow us to assess further our ability to operate away from home in a hostile environment.

“Our focus, however, has been on ourselves and how we can perform better, by identifying the areas that we can control – like improving our skill-sets and reinforcing our cohesion — to withstand the difficult times and also apply some pressure. “


Stuart Hogg, Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); David Denton, Blair Cowan, Robert Harley; Jonny Gray, Jim Hamilton; Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Ryan Grant, Geoff Cross, Tim Swinson, Johnnie Beattie, Adam Ashe, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Greig Tonks

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