GEOFF Cross has been selected ahead of Moray Low in the only change to the Scotland side for this weekend’s RBS 6 Nations clash against Ireland.
It’s no surprise that Scott Johnson has stuck with the same team as he looks for continuity, but Cross replaces Euan Murray at tighthead prop. Murray does not play on Sundays for religious reasons.
It was a tight call over Murray’s replacement with Glasgow’s Moray Low now coming back to his best form but Low missed Glasgow’s game on Friday night due to illness and that appears to have tilted the balance in favour of Edinburgh prop Cross.
Dougie Hall has recovered from the knee injury he sustained against England to take his place on the bench alongside Glasgow teammate Jon Welsh.
Meanwhile, Ireland coach Declan Kidney has sprung a major surprise by picking uncapped Ulster youngsters Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall to start at 10 and 12, with veteran stand off Ronan O’Gara on the bench.
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: “We have to improve on our last game and that’s been our theme at training all week.
“I make no apology for saying again that we have to step up our work in the contact area. Yes, we’ve some talented athletes in the squad , but we have to give them the opportunities.
“It’s good to see players challenging for selection – and there are a number consistently putting their hands up, which is exactly what we want to see.
“But we’ve kept changes to a minimum and are saying to the players: ‘You’ve won one game. Now go out show us you can win another’.”
Just over 1800 tickets remain for Sunday’s match and are on sale from the SRU website or at Murrayfield.
• Scotland team to play Ireland on Sunday 24 February; Hogg, Maitland, Lamont, Scott, Visser, Jackson, Laidlaw; Grant, Ford, Cross, Gray, Hamilton, Harley, Brown, Beattie. Subs: Hall, Welsh, Low, Kellock, Denton, Pyrgos, Weir, Evans.
• Ireland team; Kearney, Gilroy, O’Driscoll, Marshall, Earls, Jackson, Court, Best, Ross, D O’Callaghan, Ryan, O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip. Subs: Cronin, Kilcoyne, Fitzpatrick, Toner, Henderson, Reddan, O’Gara, Fitzgerald.