Six Nations: Six changes for Scotland's clash with England

Six Nations: Six changes for Scotland's clash with England

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to the starting Scotland team to face England in this Saturday’s final Six Nations Test at Twickenham Stadium.

Scotland travel south in defence of the Calcutta Cup trophy they lifted for the first time in ten years at BT Murrayfield last year, with a victory in west London escaping the Scots in each of the biennial times of asking since 1983.

Looking ahead to the challenge that awaits, Townsend said: “First of all we have to build on the positive aspects of our performance from last weekend against Wales, when we were able to generate quick ball and build a lot of pressure on the opposition.

“The character and fitness the players displayed showed, in the second-half, what the team is capable of against one of the best sides in the world. The next step is making that pressure count on the scoreboard, more regularly.

“Winning away from home tends to be achieved through an outstanding defensive performance and we are determined to deliver that this Saturday. At times against Wales we weren’t aggressive or accurate enough so that has been a focus for us this week in training.”

He continued: “England are a quality side and have been playing really well throughout the championship.

“They have shown a different game plan this season, which is built on power, both through direct ball carrying and also getting off the line in defence.

“They’ve kicked the ball more than any other team in the Guinness Six Nations, which has worked well for them, and produced tries, and it also shows that they are more than comfortable defending for several phases.”

Scotland’s team changes are split evenly between the backs and forwards and see English Premiership pair Sean Maitland (Saracens) and Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) start in place of back-three counterparts Blair Kinghorn and Tommy Seymour – both injured in last weekend’s loss to Wales – alongside try-scorer Darcy Graham.

The alterations to the back division are completed by Glasgow Warriors inside-centre Sam Johnson, who starts his fourth Test of the tournament in place of clubmate Pete Horne.

Johnson partners fellow Warrior Nick Grigg in midfield, with half-backs Finn Russell and Ali Price starting once again.
The starting back-row features two of the three pack changes where Edinburgh openside Hamish Watson will earn his 25th cap in place of Jamie Ritchie, who has not recovered sufficiently from the head / neck injury sustained against Wales to feature this weekend.

Exeter Chiefs forward Sam Skinner – injured in the opening round win over Italy – returns to blindside flank in place of Sale Sharks’ Josh Strauss – who moves to the bench – with Edinburgh’s Magnus Bradbury moving to the national number 8 position for the first time.

The last change sees Edinburgh lock Ben Toolis start in place of Jonny Gray – who moves to the bench – alongside clubmate Grant Gilchrist to form an all-Edinburgh tight five with returning front-row forwards Allan Dell, captain Stuart McInally and Willem Nel, meaning all but one of the starting pack hails from the capital club.

Scotland team to play England at Twickenham Stadium

15. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 39 caps

14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
11. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 7 caps

10. Finn Russell VICE CAPTAIN (Racing 92) – 43 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 32 caps
6. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 4 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 6 caps

16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps
17. Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 33 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 50 caps
20. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 21 caps
21. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 70 caps
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 7 caps

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