Phil Egan
Phil Egan

01:50 12 Mar 2021

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his starting 15 for Sunday's Six Nations clash with Ireland at Murrayfield.

WP Nel has been handed his first start since the 2019 World Cup and comes in for the suspended Zander Fagerson.

Sean Maitland, Sam Johnson and Jamie Ritchie replace Darcy Graham, James Lang and Blade Thomson.

Ritchie returns at blindside flanker alongside Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson in the back row, while Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings continue their second-row partnership.

Captain Stuart Hogg and wingers Duhan van der Merwe and the returning Sean Maitland form the back three.

Sam Johnson featured for the first time in this year's championship, joining Chris Harris in the centres.

Finn Russell and Ali Price continue the half-back partnership for a third straight game.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has made three changes from the win over Italy with Keith Earls, Cian Healy and Rob Herring all included.

Townsend said: "We are well aware of the threats posed by an experienced Ireland squad and our players have prepared for a contest they know is going to require one of their best performances.

"We had prepared well for our postponed game against France, and the players have adapted well to the change of plans and have brought real energy and focus to our training sessions this week.”

"Playing Ireland is always a physical affair and one that demands you keep stepping up to make tackles or contest for possession.

"They have played well in their opening three games of the Championship and have some outstanding players in their squad. It should be a cracking game."

Scotland team to play Ireland:

15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN
14. Sean Maitland
13. Chris Harris
12. Sam Johnson
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Finn Russell
9. Ali Price

1. Rory Sutherland
2. George Turner
3. WP Nel
4. Scott Cummings
5. Jonny Gray
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. Hamish Watson
8. Matt Fagerson


16. David Cherry
17. Jamie Bhatti
18. Simon Berghan
19. Grant Gilchrist
20. Nick Haining
21. Scott Steele
22. Huw Jones
23. Darcy Graham

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Gregor Townsend Ireland Scotland Sean Maitland Six Nations

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