independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Scotland make one change for clash with Ireland at Murrayfield

Euan Murray

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson has made one change to the side which beat Italy two weeks ago as he prepares for the RBS 6 Nations visit of Ireland this Sunday.

Tight-head prop Euan Murray - who refuses to play on the Sabbath on religious grounds - is replaced by Edinburgh's Geoff Cross.

Cross, who scored a try against New Zealand on his last start for his country, is the only new face in the side which triumphed 34-10 over Italy earlier this month

Meanwhile on the bench, Dougie Hall has recovered from the knee injury he sustained against England and is restored as replacement hooker.

His Glasgow Warriors team-mate, prop Jon Welsh, also wins a place on the bench, his first involvement in a matchday 23 since he returned home early from last summer's tour to the South Pacific to undergo shoulder surgery.

Alastair Kellock will become the 34th Scot to reach the landmark of 50 caps for his country if he is introduced to the action from the bench.

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: "We have to improve on our last game and that's been our theme at training all week.

"I make no apology for saying again that we have to step up our work in the contact area. Yes, we've some talented athletes in the squad , but we have to give them the opportunities.

"It's good to see players challenging for selection - and there are a number consistently putting their hands up, which is exactly what we want to see.

"But we've kept changes to a minimum and are saying to the players: 'You've won one game. Now go out show us you can win another'."

Scotland team to play Ireland on Sunday: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw, Johnnie Beattie, Kelly Brown, Rob Harley, Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray, Geoff Cross, Ross Ford, Ryan Grant.

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Max Evans.

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