Scotland v England, Six Nations, March 13
De Luca drafted in by Scotland
March 9, 2010
Nick De Luca starts at outside-centre for Scotland © Getty Images
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has reshuffled his backline for their Calcutta Cup showdown with England at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The former England boss has recalled Edinburgh's Nick de Luca at outside-centre following disappointing defeats to Wales and Italy, with Max Evans shifting to the wing in place of Ulster's Simon Danielli. De Luca partners Graeme Morrison in midfield while Dan Parks will go up against Jonny Wilkinson at fly-half.
Chris Cusiter again starts at scrum-half and leads the side, with co-captain Mike Blair ruled out of the game due to a concussion sustained while on Magners League duty with Edinburgh at the weekend. The same fate has befallen Gloucester prop Alasdair Dickinson, whose club team-mate Alasdair Strokosch has been sidelined by an ankle problem.
As a result, Rory Lawson will provide scrum-half back-up to Cusiter and Edinburgh prop Geoff Cross has been drafted onto the bench as an added front-row option. Alan MacDonald is the back-row cover, with the Glasgow trio of Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Johnnie Beattie intact. Jim Hamilton has again seen off the challenge of British & Irish Lions tourist Nathan Hines and starts alongside Al Kellock in the second-row.
Robinson elected to reshuffle his backline in order to free Evans up to attack England's "poorer defenders" while De Luca has been selected as much for his defence as his attack.
"It's taking the opportunities that we create and stopping England scoring," Robinson said. "The last two games that have been won here at Murrayfield, England haven't scored a try. It's going to be vital that we stop England getting any sort of momentum.
"I felt that we just needed to free Max up a bit for him to be able to attack their weak and poorer defenders. Nick is probably one of our best defenders and will get stuck into England and put them under some pressure, and stop their 12 and 13. Also, he's a very good ball-carrier.
"There are a number of very good players who play for England. They have a very good forward pack, they're very good at attacking through Danny Care. They have got pace, so they are a dangerous team. But if you get in their faces and you stop them from playing, you ask real questions of them."
Scotland: H Southwell (Stade Francais); S Lamont (Scarlets), N De Luca (Edinburgh), G Morrison (Glasgow), M Evans (Glasgow); D Parks (Glasgow), C Cusiter (Glasgow, capt); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), E Murray (Northampton); J Hamilton (Edinburgh), A Kellock (Glasgow); K Brown (Glasgow), J Barclay (Glasgow), J Beattie (Glasgow)
Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester), G Cross (Edinburgh), N Hines (Leinster), A MacDonald (Edinburgh), R Lawson (Gloucester), P Godman (Edinburgh), S Danielli (Ulster)
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