Tuesday 18 December 2018

Lions star misses out through injury as Scotland make one change to starting XV for Ireland clash

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend Photo: Sportsfile
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend Photo: Sportsfile

Andy Newport

Blair Kinghorn will make his first start for Scotland against Ireland on Saturday after being named in Gregor Townsend's side for their pivotal NatWest 6 Nations clash in Dublin.

The on-form Edinburgh wing's inclusion is the only alteration to the side which beat England last time out as he replaces the injured Tommy Seymour.

Kinghorn - who has scored eight tries for his club side this term - made his debut off the bench in that triumphant Calcutta Cup win a fortnight ago.

Now he will hope to play a part in a victory over Joe Schmidt's side that will see the Dark Blues claw themselves back into Championship contention.

Glasgow wing Lee Jones comes onto the bench following the withdrawal of Scotstoun colleague Seymour with a back injury, while the Warriors' Fraser Brown - who featured in all but two Scotland Tests last year - returns from injury to take Scott Lawson's place as replacement hooker.

There is no place for Richie Gray, despite the giant Toulouse lock rejoining the squad after shaking off a troublesome calf injury as Grant Gilchrist gets the nod to start alongside his brother Jonny Gray.

Flanker John Hardie also misses out despite being handed a recall to Townsend's squad this week for the first time since being suspended by his club side Edinburgh following allegations of cocaine use.

Scotland lost their opening clash to Wales but back-to-back wins over France and England have now raised hopes that they can make a bid for their first title since their 1999 Five Nations success.

Townsend said: "We were delighted with the result against England and backing up our win against France with an improved performance.

"The intent we showed in attack and defence in the first half was very encouraging and we continued to work hard in the second half. The effort that went into denying England a second try in the closing minutes was great to see.

"Our players had prepared very well for the challenge of taking on England and there has been a similar focus and commitment this week at training.

"There are a few areas of our game that we are working to improve and we are aware that we will have to be better if we are to beat a very good Ireland side in Dublin."

Scotland: (15-9) S Hogg (Glasgow); B Kinghorn (Edinburgh), H Jones, P Horne (both Glasgow), S Maitland (Saracens); F Russell (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Clermont); (1-8) G Reid (London Irish), S McInally, S Berghan; G Gilchrist (all Edinburgh), J Gray (Glasgow); J Barclay (Scarlets), H Watson (Edinburgh), R Wilson (Glasgow).

Replacements: (16-23) F Brown (Glasgow), J Bhatti (Glasgow), WP Nel (Edinburgh), T Swinson (Glasgow), D Denton (Worcester), A Price, N Grigg, L Jones (all Glasgow).

 

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