Russell dropped, Kinghorn starts for Scotland
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Head coach Gregor Townsend has made two changes to the starting line-up for Scotland’s final match of the 2022 Six Nations, with Blair Kinghorn and Jonny Gray selected to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.
Edinburgh flyhalf Blair Kinghorn is rewarded for some impressive performances, including his starring role in the recent United Rugby Championship victory against Connacht two weeks ago, and will partner Ali Price, who won a 50th cap in the win over Italy last weekend.
Exeter Chiefs lock Jonny Gray has also returned to the starting XV having been ruled out of Scotland’s last two matches through injury.
Stuart Hogg once again captains the team from fullback with Edinburgh’s Darcy Graham on one wing and Glasgow Warriors’ Kyle Steyn selected on the other, following his starting role against Italy.
In the centre, Gloucester’s Chris Harris and Glasgow Warriors’ Sam Johnson start alongside each other for the third match this championship.
In the front row, Edinburgh’s Pierre Schoeman is named along with Glasgow Warriors’ George Turner and Zander Fagerson. vice-captain Grant Gilchrist will partner Jonny Gray.
Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson will edge one more cap closer to reaching 50 appearances and alongside him in the back row will be Glasgow Warriors’ duo Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson who have both been lauded for stand-out performances so far in the championship.
In the replacements, Fraser Brown is named and will be aiming to add to his 54 caps, alongside fellow front row operators Allan Dell and WP Nel.
Sam Skinner is also listed, while Bat’s Josh Bayliss has been chosen for the first time in this year’s Six Nations after making his debut against Australia in the 2021 Nations Series.
London Irish’s Ben White makes his return to the squad after not being involved last week and Edinburgh’s Mark Bennett is selected as a replacement alongside Finn Russell of Racing 92.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Rory Darge, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 WP Nel, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Ben White, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Mark Bennett.
Date: Saturday, March 19
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 16.45 (16.45 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)