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The South African quartet, the star centres and the maestro at ten – meet the Scots looking to shock Ireland


Stuart Hogg is still a key man for Scotland. Image: Sportsfile.

Stuart Hogg is still a key man for Scotland. Image: Sportsfile.

Stuart Hogg is still a key man for Scotland. Image: Sportsfile.

Ahead of the Six Nations clash with Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday, here is a rundown of the men looking to ruin Ireland’s Grand Slam dream.

15 – Stuart Hogg (30, 99 caps, Exeter Chiefs)

The three-time Lions tourist often comes in for criticism due to some high-profile errors, but he is still one of Scotland’s key players as he prepares to reach a century of caps. Not quite operating at his peak of the previous World Cup cycle, Hogg still remains a dangerous game-breaker.

14 – Kyle Steyn (29, 8 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

The first of four South Africans in the match-day squad, Steyn qualifies through his Scottish mother rather than the residency rule, and has played for Glasgow since 2017.

13 – Huw Jones (29, 34 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

The slick centre is arguably the comeback player of the tournament after a few years where fitness, form and a move to Harlequins meant that he wasn’t in the team as much as he ought to be. He leads the championship with three tries and will be a major threat to the Irish defence.

12 – Sione Tuipulotu (26, 14 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Like his centre colleague, the Australian, who qualifies through his grandmother, has been a revelation at 12. His probing grubbers and no-look passes have unlocked every defence he has faced and Ireland will need to keep a keen eye on him.

11 – Duhan van der Merwe (27, 26 caps, Edinburgh)

One of the superstars of European rugby, the South African ended up back at Edinburgh this season after Worcester went bust. Started all three Lions tests in South Africa and scored one of the all-time great Six Nations tries in Scotland’s opening win over England.

10 – Finn Russell (30, 68 caps, Racing 92)

Few players divide opinion quite like Finn Russell. He’s as capable of winning Scotland a game with a moment of brilliance as he is to throw a game-altering interception – sometimes he manages to fit it all into the one game.

9 – Ben White (24, 12 caps, London Irish)

The nippy nine has been to Scotland what Jamison Gibson-Park has been to Ireland. White has emerged as a key contributor although Ireland will be thankful that Declan Kidney played him for the majority of London Irish’s win over Newcastle last weekend.

1 – Pierre Schoeman (28, 19 caps, Edinburgh)

The former Bulls prop arrived in Edinburgh from Pretoria in 2018 and has emerged as a vital ball carrier up front as well as a strong scrummaging presence.

2 – George Turner (30, 33 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Doesn’t have the all-court game of Dan Sheehan or the power of Ronan Kelleher, but Turner gets the absolute maximum from his skill-set and is a punchy ball carrier.

3 – Zander Fagerson (27, 56 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

A Lions tourist in 2021, Fagerson is a solid operator who will be looking to trouble the Irish scrum.

4 – Richie Gray (33, 72 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Gray was almost the forgotten man of Scottish rugby after a number of years in France, so it was fitting that he gave such a physical performance in the Stade de France last time out to remind people of his quality.

5 – Jonny Gray (28, 75 caps, Exeter Chiefs)

Gray went from an automatic starter to a bench option, but the tireless tackler is back in the starting team after Grant Gilchrist’s red card against France.

6 – Matt Fagerson (24, 31 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Like his brother, Fagerson doesn’t let the team down but as a number eight, he will need a massive performance in order to eclipse Caelan Doris.

7 – Jamie Ritchie (26, 39 caps, Edinburgh)

One of Gregor Townsend’s best decisions was making the combative Edinburgh flanker the captain over Stuart Hogg. Ritchie is a classic nuisance at blindside flanker and will try his best to disrupt Ireland’s flow.

8 – Jack Dempsey (28, 7 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Australian Dempsey is in line to represent two different countries at Rugby World Cups, having won 14 caps for Australia and played for the Wallabies in 2019 before switching nations following World Rugby’s regulation change.

16 - Fraser Brown (33, 60 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

The veteran hooker will need to up his impact from the bench given Ireland’s option in the 16 jersey.

17 – Jamie Bhatti (29, 27 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

The loosehead prop has one of the more interesting back stories in the squad, having previously worked in an abattoir and as a bouncer before finding his way in professional rugby.

18 - Simon Berghan (32, 32 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

The New Zealand-born prop is a qualified electrician and made the switch from Edinburgh to Glasgow after seven seasons in 2021

19 - Scott Cummings (26, 23 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Cummings makes the match-day squad after Gilchrist's red card. Can plug a gap.

20 – Hamish Watson (31, 55 caps, Edinburgh)

Watson is certainly dynamic with the ball in hand but there remains a suspicion that he might be a bit lightweight for this back row battle.

21 – Ali Price (29, 59 caps, Glasgow Warriors)

Price has lost his way a bit since starting a few Lions tests in 2021, but is still a good option to have in reserve.

22 – Blair Kinghorn (26, 41 caps, Edinburgh)

Kinghorn started his career as a fullback and nothing we’ve seen so far indicates that he is an international out-half.

23 – Chris Harris (32, 41 caps, Gloucester)

Harris is a workmanlike centre who delivers defensively, but picking him ahead of Garry Ringrose for the 2021 Lions tour was another decision Warren Gatland would like back.

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