Six Nations

Johnson to mull over options

2014-03-12 18:43
Scott Johnson (AFP)

London - Scotland coach Scott Johnson has announced a 13-man shortlist of backs on Wednesday from which he will select seven for his side's final Six Nations game against Wales on Saturday.

With several of his backs having sustained injuries in last weekend's 19-17 loss to France, Johnson will run the rule over his players in training on Wednesday and Thursday before confirming his starting XV.

The only change in the pack for the trip to Cardiff sees Ryan Wilson drafted into the back row to cover for the injured Johnnie Beattie.

"We're obviously already without Sean Lamont in the backs after the knee problem he picked up against France," Johnson explained.

"We've also got some concerns about our wingers, Tommy (Seymour) and Max (Evans), and we're going to wait until tomorrow (Thursday) to see how they are."

The experienced Alasdair Strokosch returns to the bench, with prop Alasdair Dickinson also named among the replacements after overcoming a calf injury that he picked up in last month's 21-20 loss to Italy in Rome.

Among the backs hoping to start are the Edinburgh trio of Jack Cuthbert, Dougie Fife and Lee Jones.

Full-back Cuthbert, 26, won his only cap to date in a 2011 World Cup warm-up match against Ireland, while 23-year-old wing Fife is uncapped.

Jones, who can play at wing or scrum-half, last played for Scotland against Ireland two years ago, but has shown impressive form during a loan spell with Glasgow.

Scotland approach the match in fifth place in the table and must avoid defeat if they are to guarantee that the wooden spoon goes to Italy.

The game will be Johnson's last before he leaves the post to become the Scottish Rugby Union's director of rugby, with New Zealander Vern Cotter succeeding him as head coach.

However, the Australian, who has won only five of the 15 matches that he has overseen, is determined not to be the centre of attention at the Millennium Stadium.

"It's not about me," he said.

"I did it for what I feel is the right fit for Scotland and I'll take up a different role and I'll enjoy that, but I'm really proud to say I've been a part of it."

Provisional Scotland team announced on Wednesday to face Wales in the Six Nations at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday:

Scotland:

Backs (from): Chris Cusiter, Jack Cuthbert, Alex Dunbar, Max Evans, Dougie Fife, Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Matt Scott, Duncan Taylor, Richie Vernon, Duncan Weir

Forwards: 8 David Denton, 7 Kelly Brown (capt), 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Ryan Grant

Substitutes: Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson, Euan Murray, Tim Swinson, Alasdair Strokosch

Read more on:    six nations  |  scott johnson  |  rugby
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