Six Nations: Sean Maitland to make Scotland debut v England

 

RBS SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Dates: Saturday 2 February-Saturday 16 March

Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC One HD, Red Button and online; listen on BBC Radio 5 live; live streaming and text commentary on BBC Sport website; watch again on BBC iPlayer

New Zealand-born Glasgow wing Sean Maitland will make his Scotland debut against England in their Six Nations opener at Twickenham on Saturday.

Among six changes made by interim head coach Scott Johnson from the team that lost to Tonga, number eight Johnnie Beattie earns a recall and hooker Dougie Hall returns after six years.

Sean Lamont moves from wing to centre while Ruaridh Jackson is at stand-off.

Greig Laidlaw starts an international at scrum-half for the first time.

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Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future

Scott Johnson Scotland interim head coach

In the pack, Ryan Grant returns from injury at loose-head prop, Hall begins a Scotland game for the first time since 2007 and, completing the front row, tight-head Euan Murray earns his 50th cap.

Jim Hamilton is recalled to partner Richie Gray in the second row and, in the back row, Beattie - who has returned to form with Montpellier in France - is included for the first time since playing against Ireland at Murrayfield in 2011.

Kelly Brown - named as captain for the opening fixture against England - starts at open-side flanker.

Johnson is determined that the team improves on a dismal run of five defeats in the tournament last year which saw them end up with the Wooden Spoon.

"I've spoken about the importance of this competition, the history and tradition of it, and you couldn't get a more mouth-watering opening than the game between international rugby's oldest foes," said the Australian.

"Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future."

Interview - Scotland winger Sean Maitland.

New Zealand-born Maitland qualifies to play for Scotland through both of his grandfathers.

"Sean Maitland is very proud to be pulling on the Scotland jersey for the first time. His family will be rapt because they raised him in New Zealand always reminding him of his Scottish heritage, getting up in the early hours of the morning to watch both the Five and Six Nations games on the TV.

"He's shown he can play footy with the best of them and the impact he's made since arriving at Glasgow in the autumn has underlined what we'd seen of him playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

"I've named Greig and Ryan as vice-captains because they're both quality rugby players and the sort of blokes that I reckon can add to the leadership mix.

"I've been impressed by what I've seen of Johnnie Beattie. He brings dynamism to our back row and we're looking for him to bring that to bear on Saturday."

Scotland team to play England: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh); Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (captain - Saracens), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier).

Substitutes: Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), David Denton (Edinburgh), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres).