Home Rugby Gray & Maitland Return As Scotland Name Formidable Team

Gray & Maitland Return As Scotland Name Formidable Team

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Sean Maitland of Scotland celebrates during the RBS 6 Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield Stadium on February 4, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend, has made four changes to his side to face Ireland in BT Murrayfield on Saturday in the second round of the Guinness Six Nations. 

Sean Maitland has recovered from a knee injury and replaces Blair Kinghorn, who scored a hattrick of tries against Italy last weekend.

The 30-year-old rejoins Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg in a formidable looking backline for the clash.

Scotland suffered two injuries during that clash in Edinburgh with Willem Nel (calf) and Sam Skinner (ankle) ruled out. Prop, Simon Berghan and back-row, Josh Strauss, take their place in the starting XV.

Meanwhile, Jonny Gray’s recovery from a shoulder injury sees him replace second-row Ben Toolis, who moves to the bench.

Following his impressive debut last week, Sam Johnson continues in the centre alongside Glasgow Warriors teammate, Huw Jones. Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw continue their partnership in the half-backs.

The reselection of Allan Dell and Stuart McInally alongside Berghan means an all-Edinburgh front-row will take to the field once more, in spite of Nel’s absence.

Behind them in the scrum Grant Gilchrist starts alongside Gray, while Ryan Wilson and Jamie Ritchie join Strauss in the back-row.

Townsend maintains that Scotland will have to produce one of their “best ever performances” if they are to be victorious on Saturday.

“It’s massive. It’s probably the biggest challenge we’ll face in the Guinness Six Nations, given the way Ireland have been playing in the last few years – they are Grand Slam Champions and the number-two team in the world.

“They’re very well coached, have some outstanding players and will test us in a number of areas – defensively, set-piece, attack and kicking game. It is a challenge that brings an extra edge and focus to training and something our players relish taking on.

“Our players have risen to the challenge of playing New Zealand, England and other world-class teams and they are aware that we must rise once more to produce one of our best-ever performances for 80 minutes.”

Kick off on Saturday is 2.15pm.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss.

Substitutes: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, D’arcy Rae, Ben Toolis, Rob Harley, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Blair Kinghorn.

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. She is a former reporter with Sporting Limerick and is a huge fan of the GAA. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter