ROSS RENNIE will make his first start for Scotland against Ireland on Saturday at Murrayfield as he bids for a place in Andy Robinson’s 30-man World Cup squad.
The Edinburgh openside replaces John Barclay in one of five changes to the team that played Italy in the Six Nations, while Scotland coach Andy Robinson has also made one positional switch.
Robinson said: “In any international match there is always a huge amount at stake, but the EMC Tests take on extra significance this year as we hone our preparations for the start of the world’s third biggest sporting event.
“I’m a firm believer that competition brings the best out in players and I’ve said to the squad that it lies in their hands to make the case for their inclusion in the final 30 for New Zealand.”
The other alterations from the last Murrayfield International in March see Graeme Morrison return in midfield having missed the Six Nations with a knee injury, thus Sean Lamont reverts to the wing and Simon Danielli drops out of the 22.
Up front, Johnnie Beattie is given the chance to demonstrate his shoulder woes are behind him at No 8, Alasdair Strokosch comes in at blindside flanker and Jim Hamilton will start at lock. The three forwards replace Kelly Brown, Nathan Hines and Alastair Kellock respectively.
The team will be led by Rory Lawson, who captained Scotland to victories over reigning world champions South Africa and Samoa at Murrayfield and Pittodrie respectively last November. Vice-captain for the first time will be Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford, who will be winning his 49th cap.
On the bench Robinson has listed two uncapped players, 21-year-old Edinburgh back-row forward David Denton, who has already represented both Scotland at Sevens and A level, and 23-year-old Bath full-back Jack Cuthbert, who has also won promotion from Scotland A.
Scotland team to play Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday 6 August, kick-off 2.15pm
15 Chris Paterson (Edinburgh) 104 caps, 22 tries, 162 penalties, 89 conversions, 3 drop goal, 783 points
14 Nikki Walker (Ospreys) 22 caps, 6 tries, 30 points
13 Joe Ansbro (London Irish) 6 caps
12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
11 Sean Lamont (Scarlets) 55 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 6 caps, 1 penalty, one conversion, one drop-goal, 8 points
9 Rory Lawson (Gloucester) 27 caps CAPTAIN
1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh) 55 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh) 48 caps, 2 tries, 10 points VICE-CAPTAIN
3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh) 5 caps
4 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 31 caps, 1 try, 5 points
5 Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 10 caps
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester) 19 caps, 1 try, 5 point
7 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) 6 caps
8 Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors) 15 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 34 caps, 1 try, 5 points
17 Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks) 19 caps
18 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 32 caps, 1 try, 5 points
19 David Denton (Edinburgh) uncapped
20 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh) 1 cap
21 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh) 24 caps, 1 try, 5 points
22 Jack Cuthbert (Bath) uncapped