Hogg leads Scots into Calcutta Cup battle
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs star Stuart Hogg skippers a Scotland side that shows just one change ahead of their Calcutta Cup clash with England in the Guinness Six Nations at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday (4:45pm).
Edinburgh No.8 Nagnus Bradbury has recovered from the thigh strain that kept him from starting last weekend’s loss to Ireland, with club-mate and debutant that day, Nick Haining, moving to the bench.
The remaining change to the match 23 occurs on the bench, where Edinburgh tighthead Simon Berghan returns to the position in which he was selected last weekend, only to be ruled out through illness on the day of the game.
Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “We were proud of parts of our performance in Dublin at a very difficult venue. The challenge for the squad is to replicate that level and take our chances when they come, in order to win tight games.
“We were disappointed not to beat Ireland but the opportunity to face England, against whom we are bidding to retain the Calcutta Cup, is one that excites players, coaches and supporters alike.”
Bradbury – scorer of try number three of six in last year’s remarkable 11-try Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham – will feature in an all-Edinburgh back-row with Jamie Ritchie on the blindside and Hamish Watson at openside.
They’ll start behind an unchanged tight-five of Glasgow Warriors second-rows Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray, and club-mates Fraser Brown (hooker) and Zander Fagerson (tighthead prop), with Edinburgh’s Rory Sutherland reselected at loosehead.
No change to the backs means Ali Price and Adam Hastings will rekindle their club partnership at Test level, with fellow Warriors Huw Jones and Sam Johnson – try scorers against England in 2018 and 2019 respectively – in midfield.
Full-back Hogg anchors a back-three with Sean Maitland (Saracens) and Blair Kinghorn (wing).
Townsend added: “England are an excellent team whose run to the Rugby World Cup final was no fluke.
“They will be smarting from their opener in Paris and Eddie [Jones, Head Coach] will have them primed to come to Edinburgh and put in an improved performance.
“This famous fixture is one that stands out given the history surrounding it and we will have to be at our very best to stand a chance of winning against our oldest rivals.”
Scotland team to play England at BT Murrayfield Stadium
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, capt) – 73 caps
14. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 45 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 24 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 56 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 15 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 34 caps
17. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 29 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
20. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
22. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 4 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 15 caps