Gray returns as Townsend names strong Scotland side to face England

Jonny Gray 13/2/2021
Jonny Gray will make his return to the Scotland starting XV for the Calcutta Cup clash with England at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

Jonny Gray will make his return to the Scotland starting XV for the Calcutta Cup clash with England at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Exeter Chiefs second row missed the entire Autumn Nations Series through injury but returns for his 65th cap in Scotland’s Championship opener.

Gray’s Exeter teammate Stuart Hogg will lead the side from full-back, having broken the Scottish try-scoring record the last time he put on the famous jersey against Japan.

Grant Gilchrist joins Gray in an experienced second row pairing, with Gilchrist now just one cap shy of a half-century of Scottish appearances.

Can Stuart Hogg lead Scotland’s golden generation to glory?

In the front row, it is familiar faces, as Rory Sutherland, who played in all five matches last year, is joined by George Turner and Zander Fagerson.

And in the back row it is the same story, as Gregor Townsend is able to call on an experienced side, as Jamie Ritchie is partnered by Hamish Watson on the flank, with Matt Fagerson at No.8.

In the backs, Ali Price and Finn Russell resume their half-back pairing, in what will be their fourth consecutive game together.

They are joined by Sam Johnson and Chris Harris in the midfield, with last year’s top try scorer Duhan van der Merwe on the left wing and Darcy Graham on the right wing with captain Hogg finishing up the back three.

On the replacements bench, London Irish’s Ben White is set for his first cap, with Stuart McInally, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Magnus Bradbury, Blair Kinghorn and Sione Tuipolotu also named as replacements.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We feel privileged to be involved in the oldest international rugby fixture on Saturday, against our nearest rivals.

Who are the midfield maestros for Eddie Jones’ England?

“We are aware of how much winning at Twickenham boosted the spirits of our supporters at the start of last year’s tournament, and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them in person this year.

“We are under no illusions on the tough challenge we have ahead of us against an England side who defeated the World Champions in their last outing.

“The starting 15 we have named has a consistent feel to it which is great for cohesion, but we will also benefit from returning players such as Jonny Gray and Rory Sutherland who have been important players for us in recent seasons.

“Ben White has been in very good form for London Irish and has trained well in the last two weeks, so can approach his first involvement at Test level with real confidence.”


15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – (Captain) – 88 caps

14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 22 caps

13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 31 caps

12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 13 caps

10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 – (Vice-Captain) – 58 caps

9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 46 caps

1. Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 16 caps

2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps

3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 42 caps

4. Jonny Gray – Exeter Chiefs – 64 caps

5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 48 caps

6. Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby – (Vice-Captain) – 31 caps

7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 45 caps

8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 17 caps


16. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps

17. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 4 caps

18. WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 43 caps

19. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 15 caps

20. Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 14 caps

21. Ben White – London Irish – Uncapped

22 Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 28 caps

23 Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – 1 cap