Maitland handed Scotland debut
January 29, 2013
Sean Maitland starts for Scotland on Saturday © PA Photos
Scotland's interim boss Scott Johnson has given Sean Maitland his Test debut and has also recalled Dougie Hall and Johnnie Beattie to the starting XV ahead of their match with England on Saturday.
New Zealand-born Maitland has only played five matches for the Glasgow Warriors since his switch to Scotland earlier in the season from Super Rugby side the Crusaders. But due to his Scottish ancestry, he has been fast-tracked into the XV and will take his place in the side on the flank forming a back-three alongside Stuart Hogg and Tim Visser.
And Johnson, who took over from Andy Robinson, has showed that he is not afraid of chopping and changing the team that last played in their defeat to Tonga in November. Hall starts ahead of Ross Ford at hooker for the first time since 2007 while Beattie is back at No.8 with his last Test cap coming before the 2011 World Cup.
Elsewhere, vice-captain Greig Laidlaw starts his first game for Scotland at scrum-half and partners Ruaridh Jackson at half-back. Sean Lamont is shifted to outside centre while Matt Scott continues at inside centre. In the pack, the other vice-captain Ryan Grant is recalled at loose-head and is named alongside Hall and Euan Murray in the front-row. Jim Hamilton is back in the second-row, after sitting out their match with Tonga, and gets the nod with Richie Gray. Kelly Brown skippers the team at openside with Beattie and Perpignan's Alasdair Strokosch completing the line-up.
Scotland have not won at Twickenham against England since 1983 and Johnson has sounded a rallying call to his team ahead of the match. "I've spoken about the importance of this competition, the history and tradition of it, and you couldn't get a more mouth-watering opening than the game between international rugby's oldest foes," Johnson said. "Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future.
"Sean Maitland is very proud to be pulling on the Scotland jersey for the first time. His family will be rapt because they raised him in New Zealand always reminding him of his Scottish heritage, getting up in the early hours of the morning to watch both the Five and Six Nations games on the TV. He's shown he can play footy with the best of them and the impact he's made since arriving at Glasgow in the autumn has underlined what we'd seen of him playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.
"I've named Greig and Ryan as vice-captains because they're both quality rugby players and the sort of blokes that I reckon can add to the leadership mix. I've been impressed by what I've seen of Johnnie Beattie. He brings dynamism to our back-row and we're looking for him to bring that to bear on Saturday."
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh); Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (captain, Saracens), Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier).
Replacements: Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), David Denton (Edinburgh), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres)
Not considered due to injury: Peter Horne, Chris Cusiter, Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), Scott Lawson (London Irish)
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