Six Nations: ‘I deserved to be dropped’ admits recalled Nick De Luca

SCOTLAND coach Andy Robinson has rewarded Nick De Luca for his performance as a replacement against France after the centre admitted that he was rightly dropped for incurring a yellow card against Wales in Cardiff.

Robinson has kept faith with tighthead prop Geoff Cross as he goes in search of a first RBS Six Nations win this season in Ireland, as well as the three-quarter line that finished the game against France. That means Sean Lamont stays where he finished, on the wing, in place of his brother Rory, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a broken leg against the French.

De Luca, who came off the bench against France, reclaims the No 13 jersey for this weekend’s match and Cross’ selection means Euan Murray is among the substitutes after the veteran prop missed the past two Sunday matches due to his religious beliefs.

De Luca received the first of two yellow cards, Rory Lamont the second, which turned a promising Scottish performance in Cardiff into a period of mayhem in which the Welsh scored three tries to fly into an unassailable lead.

The candid centre admitted that he had tried to take out his opposite number Jonathan Davies deliberately and got it horribly wrong.

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He said: “It was clearly a yellow card and I’m not going to try to defend myself. I put my hand up and got dropped for it.

“That could have cost us the game – arguably it did – and I deserved it. I was happy with a lot of the things I did against Wales, but international rugby is about fine margins and that’s not acceptable in a Scotland jersey. That’s two [yellow cards] now and so hopefully I’m done.”

The extra week’s recovery ahead of the final two games has enabled Scotland half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Mike Blair to overcome knocks sustained in the France match, while Ireland have been weakened by the loss of their first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray and their skipper Paul O’Connell to injuries suffered against France in last Sunday’s rearranged match in Paris.