The Scotland A side to face England A tomorrow shows just two changes from the team which began the victory against Wales. Both changes were expected once the squad had been announced on Monday: Allan Jacobsen starts at loosehead prop instead of Paul Johnstone, and Jason White is in the back row in place of Simon Taylor.
Taylor’s promotion to the senior squad has led the A team’s coach, Graham Hogg, to make a positional change to the back row. White plays at No6, with Don Mackinnon occupying the position formerly held by Taylor, No8.
Willie Anderson’s return is the only change to the bench from the previous game. The former Glasgow Caley prop, now an amateur club player with Kirkcaldy, benefits from Johnstone’s decision to make himself unavailable.
The inclusion of Anderson may seem ironic given Johnstone’s belief that he should make way for a younger player, but the withdrawal of the Bristol prop will at least allow Jacobsen to start. In the longer run, it may alert the SRU to the need to cultivate a new crop of props, as, however willing he may be, Anderson can hardly be regarded as one for the future.
Scotland A (v England A at Kingston Park, Newcastle, Friday, 7.30pm): G Metcalfe; J Steel (both Glasgow Caledonians), D Officer, K Utterson (both Edinburgh Reivers), S Longstaff (Glasgow Caledonians); G Ross, G Burns; A Jacobsen (all Edinburgh Reivers), G Scott (Glasgow Caledonians), B Stewart (Edinburgh Reivers), D Weir (Newcastle Falcons), I Fullarton (Edinburgh Reivers), J White (Glasgow Caledonians), D Mackinnon (Edinburgh Reivers), A Mower (Newcastle Falcons). Subs: P Robertson (Edinburgh Reivers), W Anderson (Kirkcaldy), S Griffiths, R Reid (both Glasgow Caledonians), I Fairley, G Shiel (both Edinburgh Reivers), J Mayer (Bristol).
Michael Bartlett, the 22-year-old winger from New Zealand, has rejoined Glasgow Caledonians and will fly into Scotland at the weekend.
Bartlett, who qualifies for Scotland through his maternal grandfather, played once for the Reds last season. His return this season would have come about earlier but for a shoulder injury he sustained while playing in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh Reivers have signed Alastair Dickson, the Melrose centre, on a two-year contract.
Subject to a satisfactory medical, the 23-year-old will commence his professional career in June when the Reivers start their pre-season training.