Andy Robinson has kept faith with the side who put in a much-improved showing two weekends ago in the 23-17 defeat to France. The only change to the starting fifteen is an enforced one after Rory Lamont broke his leg in that match. Nick de Luca comes into the side, with Rory’s brother Sean moving to the wing to accomodate the Edinburgh centre.
There are three changes to the bench with Euan Murray returning after his self-imposed omission against France. The tighthead will almost certainly be used in the second-half on Saturday. Warriors outhalf Ruaridh Jackson replaces Duncan Weir as back-up to Grieg Laidlaw while Max Evans is back in the matchday 22 after the ordeal of clearing his name in court. The elusive wing/centre will be keen to get back on the pitch and reclaim his starting spot.
The big hitters and heavy carriers in Richie Gray, David Denton and John Barclay will be important again for Andy Robinson’s side. The Scottish pack have more than held their own in this tournament. Their lineout has been particularly successful and they will look to dominate there, especially with Paul O’Connell missing. But this Scottish side is not all about grunt up front.
Robinson’s men have shown a desire to attack with width and always look to keep the ball alive in the tackle. Their offloading game has improved in each game. However, three games in they have yet to record a win. That will ensure they come to the Aviva with intent and aggression. Even without POC and Murray, Ireland will be favourites, but they will have to be highly motivated for this battle.
Scotland team to face Ireland:
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)
14. Lee Jones (Edinburgh Rugby)
13. Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby)
12. Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors)
11. Sean Lamont (Scarlets)
10. Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby)
9. Mike Blair (Edinburgh Rugby)
1. Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby)
2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby, capt.)
3. Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby)
4. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
5. Jim Hamilton (Gloucester)
6. John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)
7. Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby)
8. David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby)
16. Scott Lawson (Gloucester) 17. Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons) 18. Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 19. Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) 20. Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 21. Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 22. Max Evans (Castres).
Photo courtesy: Dave Strong.