Uncapped Du Preez on Scotland bench

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:30

CALCUTTA CUP TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Head coach Vern Cotter has made one change to the starting Scotland side to face England at Twickenham Stadium this Saturday in the Six Nations.

Edinburgh loose forward Hamish Watson returns to the front-line having started the opening two rounds of the Championship. He takes the place of the injured John Hardie (knee), whom he replaced in the 25th minute of the last round's win over Wales.

Uncapped clubmate Cornell Du Preez takes Watson's vacated place on the bench and will make his debut if called upon.

The Scots are seeking a first win in English headquarters since 1983 and a first Triple Crown since 1990, while England aim to equal New Zealand's record of 18-straight Test wins for a tier-one nation.

Scotland have won two of their first three Six Nations games for the first time since 2006, their home victories over Ireland and Wales placing them third in the table going into the penultimate round on a highest-ever placing of fifth in the World Rugby rankings.

"We have another two games to go in this championship and this next one is obviously pretty important," said Cotter. There's a lot to play for and several reasons why we should be able to get up for this game.

"We've rested, recovered and prepared as best we can for this game. We've asked some questions of ourselves and the areas we think we can improve and we're confident we can play better as a team. That's our next challenge, to step that up.

"The challenge is for us to combine the best parts of our performances so far in this campaign in to one excellent performance at Twickenham this Saturday.

"We'll need that to put us in a position to win this game and will enjoy the challenge of doing that against an England team that hasn't lost in a while."

The re-selection of the Scotland back three sees try-scorers against Wales, Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser, join forces with fullback Stuart Hogg, who will equal the record of former Scotland centre Jim Renwick as the most-capped player out of Hawick RFC with a 52nd appearance.

Centre Alex Dunbar partners Huw Jones for the fourth match in succession while the Glasgow Warriors halfback partnership of Finn Russell and Ali Price takes to the field once more.

In the pack an all-Glasgow Warriors front row of Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson kick-off proceedings alongside returning second-row brothers Jonny and Richie Gray, with Watson joined by captain John Barclay and No.8 Ryan Wilson in the loose forwards.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Mark Bennett.

Date: Saturday, March 11
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16.00 (16.00 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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Team P W D L Pts
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France 5 3 0 2 14
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Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0