Scotland coach Vern Cotter has named a tried and tested side for their Six Nations opener at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Just two changes were made to the team that ran on against Australia in the quarter-final of last year’s World Cup. Matt Scott starts at inside centre for the injured Peter Horne, while John Barclay replaces Blair Cowan, who is on the bench, at blindside flank.
The side, to be captained by Greig Laidlaw in his 47th Test, also sees the return of Duncan Taylor and Stuart McInally, who missed out on World Cup places because of injury.
‘There’s a huge amount of excitement and determination among the group to start well, and do well, in this Championship, and show that they have learned from past experiences and developed their game,’ Cotter said.
‘Playing in front of a sold-out Murrayfield is hugely motivating for the players, who are all very proud to wear the jersey as we know. They like working hard for each other in the no-excuse environment that exists in the squad.
‘England will look to build their game from set-phase dominance, while we expect them to have developed their attacking play into the wider channels, which can create challenges as well as opportunities. We’re expecting them to be extremely motivated and physical, and we’re looking forward to that challenge. Continuity and accuracy will be key for us in this game.’
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Mark Bennet, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Subs: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Duncan Taylor.
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images