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Scotland make three changes to their pack for clash with England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Gregor Townsend has named a Scotland team for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener at home to England that contains three changes from the XV that started the closing Autumn Nations Series win over Japan at Murrayfield eleven weeks ago. 

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All the switches from their last outing on November 20 are in the pack. After missing out on the autumn matches through injury, Exeter’s Jonny Gray makes his return to the starting lineup for the first time since March 2021 when he played against Ireland. He takes over from Scott Cummings in the second row.

Elsewhere, Worcester prop Rory Sutherland is named after playing in all of last year’s Six Nations matches, taking over the unavailable Jamie Bhatti, while Matt Fagerson comes into the back row at the expense of Josh Bayliss. Elsewhere, the XV is as you were from last November.    

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On the bench, scrum-half Ben White will have the opportunity to make his Scotland debut while Magnus Bradbury could make his first appearance since 2020.

Townsend said: “We feel privileged to be involved in the oldest international rugby fixture on Saturday against our nearest rivals. We are aware of how much winning at Twickenham boosted the spirits of our supporters at the start of last year’s tournament, and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them in person this year.

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“We are under no illusions on the tough challenge we have ahead of us against an England side who defeated the world champions in their last outing. The starting 15 we have named has a consistent feel to it which is great for cohesion but we will also benefit from returning players such as Jonny Gray and Rory Sutherland who have been important players for us in recent seasons.”

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SCOTLAND (vs England, Saturday)
15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – (Captain) – 88 caps
14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps
13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 31 caps
12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 13 caps
10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 – (Vice-Captain) – 58 caps
9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 46 caps
1. Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps
2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps
3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps
4. Jonny Gray – Exeter Chiefs – 64 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 48 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – (Vice-Captain) – 31 caps
7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps
8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps

Replacements:
16. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps
17. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps
18. WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps
19. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 15 caps
20. Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 14 caps
21. Ben White – London Irish – Uncapped
22. Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 28 caps
23. Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap

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