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Scotland change six for Twickenham

Scotland change six for Twickenham
  • Sean Maitland and Byron McGuigan into back three while Johnson returns at centre
  • Two changes to the back row as Sam Skinner and Hamish Watson come in
  • Ben Toolis replaces Jonny Gray in all-Edinburgh front five

Head coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to Scotland’s starting XV to face England in this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations finale at Twickenham.

Scotland’s team changes are split evenly between the backs and forwards and see English Premiership pair Sean Maitland and Byron McGuigan start in place of back-three counterparts Blair Kinghorn and Tommy Seymour – both injured in last weekend’s loss to Wales – alongside try-scorer Darcy Graham.

The alterations to the back division are completed by Glasgow Warriors inside centre Sam Johnson, who starts his fourth Test of the Championship in place of clubmate Pete Horne.

Johnson partners fellow Warrior Nick Grigg in midfield, with half-backs Finn Russell and Ali Price starting once again.

The starting back row features two of the three pack changes where Edinburgh openside Hamish Watson will earn his 25th cap in place of Jamie Ritchie, who has not recovered sufficiently from the injury sustained against Wales.

Exeter Chiefs forward Sam Skinner – injured in the Round One win over Italy – returns to blindside flank in place of Josh Strauss, with Magnus Bradbury moving to No.8.

Edinburgh lock Ben Toolis starts in place of Jonny Gray – who moves to the bench – alongside clubmate Grant Gilchrist to form an all-Edinburgh tight five with returning front-row forwards Allan Dell, captain Stuart McInally and Willem Nel, meaning all but one of the starting pack hails from the capital club.

Newcastle Falcons back Chris Harris marks his return from the calf injury he sustained representing his club in the fallow week of the Championship with a place on the most experienced bench to be named by Townsend this campaign.

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Looking ahead to the challenge that awaits, Townsend said: “First of all we have to build on the positive aspects of our performance from last weekend against Wales, when we were able to generate quick ball and build a lot of pressure on the opposition.

“The character and fitness the players displayed showed, in the second half, what the team is capable of against one of the best sides in the world. The next step is making that pressure count on the scoreboard, more regularly.

“Winning away from home tends to be achieved through an outstanding defensive performance and we are determined to deliver that this Saturday. At times against Wales we weren’t aggressive or accurate enough so that has been a focus for us this week in training.”

Scotland team to play England 

15. Sean Maitland (Saracens)
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh)
13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors)
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors)
11. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks)
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92)
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors)

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh)
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) (c)
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh)
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)
6. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh)

Replacements

16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)
17. Gordon Reid (London Irish)
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh)
19. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
20. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks)
21. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne)
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors)
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons)