Scotland team to face Ireland: Number right makes test debut

Edinburgh number 8 Nick Haining will make his Test debut in a new-look Scotland side named to face Ireland in the opening round of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations in Dublin (kick-off 4.45pm) – live on ITV.

Their hosts have lost just one Test in the championship at home in the past five years – winning the tournament twice (2015 and 2018) in that time.

The fact that Scotland’s last win on Irish soil came some ten years ago underscores the magnitude of the task ahead with the opening defeat in the Rugby World Cup 2019 still fresh in the mind for many.

Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “We have managed to cover a lot of work in the two weeks we’ve been together and we’ve been impressed with how our players have taken on information and bonded as a team.

“Our goal is always to play to our potential. The challenge to do this starts on Saturday against Ireland.

“Playing to our potential starts with our collective mindset. That means being alert, focussed and resilient right from the beginning, to be ready for the physical battle that lies ahead and able to stay in the fight throughout the 80 minutes.”

There are ten changes to the starting side that faced Japan in Scotland’s final match of the Rugby World Cup, split evenly between the forwards and backs.

On the bench, Worcester Warriors back-row Cornell du Preez could complete an impressive return from the larynx injury he sustained representing his club in September 2018, if called upon from the bench.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Nick Haining, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Chris Harris

Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealan

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