February 3, 2017
Scotland vs. Ireland: 6 Nations Preview
The much awaited RBC 6 Nations Rugby Championships begins on February 4, as Scotland hosts Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland at 14::25pm GMT. The other 6 Nations matches will have England facing France at Twickenham in London at 16:50 GMT and on Sunday February 5, Italy will play Wales at 14:00 GMT.
Last year Scotland finished fourth in the RBS 6 Nations season. They did gain valuable wins against Argentina and Georgia before narrowing losing to Australia.
Vern Cotter has made three changes from the Fall. Huw Jones replaces Mark Barett at 13, Fraser Brown comes in for Ross Ford at hooker and Josh Strauss will be the 8 man, replacing Rob Harley.
In the forwards Allan Dell and Zander Fagerson will be the props with Fraser Brown at hooker. Brothers Richie and Jonny Gray will be the locks and the backrow consisting of Ryan Wilson and Hamish Watson as flankers and Josh Strauss at eight-man.
Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell will direct traffic from scrumhalf and flyhalf, respectively, while Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones will be the centres. Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour to be heavily involved in the attack from fullback and the wing.
Vern Cotter knows he has an formidable opponent in Ireland and commented in a Scotland team release that “Facing Ireland doesn’t get much harder. They are at the top of their game and will come here with confidence after beating some of the best teams in the world, including the All Blacks and Wallabies and having won the tournament the past three years.”
Ireland had an outstanding 2016 season, as they were the first team since England in 2003 to beat New Zealand, Australia and South Africa during the same calendar year.
The front five is unchanged from Ireland’s most recent Test, with hooker Rory Best – captaining his country for the 16th time, while gaining his 101st cap. Sean O’Brien returns as openside flanker, and along with with CJ Stander and vice-captain Jamie Heaslip form a powerful backrow.
Conor Murray and Paddy Jackson will direct traffic from scrumhalf and flyhalf, respectively, with Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw at the centres, Simon Zebo and Keith Earls will be the wings with Rob Kearney at fullback.
SCOTLAND: 15. Stuart Hogg; 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Alex Dunbar, 11. Tommy Seymour; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN; 1. Allan Dell, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Ryan Wilson, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Josh Strauss. Substitutes: 16. Ross Ford, 17. Gordon Reid, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. John Barclay, 21. Ali Price, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Mark Bennett.
IRELAND: 15. Rob Kearney; 14. Keith Earls, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Simon Zebo; 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Jack McGrath, 2. Rory Best, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Iain Henderson, 5. Devin Toner, 6. CJ Stander, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip. Substitutes: 16. Niall Scannell, 17. Cian Healy, 18. John Ryan, 19. Ultan Dillane, 20. Josh van der Flier, 21. Kieran Marmion, 22. Ian Keatley, 23. Tommy Bowe.