Aussie set for Scotland debut against Ireland
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Australian-born and Edinburgh No.8 Nick Haining will make his Test debut in a new-look Scotland side named to face Ireland in the opening round of the Six Nations in Dublin.
There are ten changes to the starting side that faced Japan in Scotland’s final match of the World Cup, split evenly between the forwards and backs.
The pack features a Test debut for No.8 Haining, who anchors an all-Edinburgh back-row with fit-again openside Hamish Watson back in the side with returning blindside Jamie Ritchie. Magnus Bradbury misses out with a thigh strain.
Glasgow Warriors lock Scott Cummings earns the chance to start his championship debut alongside clubmate and second-row stalwart Jonny Gray.
Hooker Fraser Brown retains his place at the centre of the front-row and is flanked by in-form props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, the latter featuring for the first time since the 2016 tour.
Captain Stuart Hogg and Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson are the only players retained in a back division that sees Glasgow scrumhalf Ali Price and Saracens wing Sean Maitland start in place of recent international retirees Greig Laidlaw and Tommy Seymour.
Stand-off Adam Hastings has been handed the keys to number 10 for his first championship start alongside fellow Warrior, Price, with the returning outside-centre Huw Jones – alongside Johnson in midfield – adding further familiarity to the back division from the Scotstoun club.
Edinburgh back Blair Kinghorn starts in place of injured winger Darcy Graham (knee) to complete the back-three with Hogg and Maitland.
On the bench, Worcester Warriors back-row Cornell du Preez could complete an impressive return from the larynx injury he sustained representing his club in September 2018, if called upon from the bench.
Their hosts have lost just one Test in the championship at home in the past five years – winning the tournament twice (2015 and 2018) in that time.
The fact that Scotland’s last win on Irish soil came some ten years ago underscores the magnitude of the task ahead with the opening defeat in the Rugby World Cup 2019 still fresh in the mind for many.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn , 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Nick Haining, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Chris Harris.
Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 16.45 (16.45 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT 🏴
Scotland team named to face Ireland in the opening round of the 2020 #GuinnessSixNations in Dublin.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) January 30, 2020