Scotland A turn to Lawson as skipper
February 1, 2012
Rory Lawson will skipper Scotland A against the Saxons © Getty Images
Scrum-half Rory Lawson has been handed the captain's armband for Scotland A's clash with the England Saxons at Galashiels on Friday evening.
The Gloucester half-back skippered Scotland to a Calcutta Cup victory over England six years ago, but he will have to be content with a spot in the A team on the opening weekend of the 2012 Six Nations. But he will line up alongside some familiar faces with five other Scottish internationals named in the 22 to face the Saxons. Phil Godman, Simon Danielli, Alex Grove, Dougie Hall and Richie Vernon are all named in the squad while there are four new caps - Tom Brown, Stuart Hogg, Pat MacArthur and Matt Scott - in the party.
The Scottish A side have only beaten the Saxons twice - back in 1998 and more recently in the 2006 Churchill Cup - and coach Michael Bradley will hope his side can add a third victory to that poor run of form. "We're all looking forward to what will be a massive test for us against England Saxons on Friday," Bradley said. "As is a necessity with A-team rugby, the guys have used the limited time we've had together constructively, and we've got confidence in how we want to play the game.
"The Saxons showed against Ireland Wolfhounds last Saturday that they've got real ability across their side, so we know we need to deliver in every facet of our performance.
"As a coaching team, we're happy with the skill set and the balance of the side we'll have running out come Friday. The backline has a real freshness about it, and boasts considerable international experience in the shape of Rory, Simon and Alex.
"Up front, meanwhile, we have a core of guys who have been performing well as a unit for Glasgow Warriors, aided and abetted by a couple of back row players, Stuart McInally and Richie Vernon, who will bring quality and endeavour to the table.
"It's a real opportunity for a good number of guys to stick their hand up and show they're worthy of selection during the Six Nations Championship. The most effective way for them to do that is to contribute fully to a winning performance against the Saxons."
Scotland A side:
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Tom Brown (Edinburgh Rugby), Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Lawson (Gloucester); Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks)
Replacements: Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), Roddy Grant (Edinburgh Rugby), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Phil Godman (Edinburgh Rugby), Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton