Six Nations

Maitland returns as Scotland bench hat-trick hero Kinghorn against Ireland

2019-02-07 16:29
Sean Maitland (AFP)

Edinburgh - Fit-again wing Sean Maitland has gone straight into Scotland's starting XV to play Ireland in the Six Nations at Murrayfield despite Blair Kinghorn, the man he replaced, scoring a hat-trick against Italy.

Maitland has recovered from a hamstring injury that saw the Saracens wing miss Scotland's tournament-opening 33-20 win at home to Italy last weekend.

Kinghorn, who ran in three tries against the Azzurri, drops to the bench with Maitland lining up alongside fellow British and Irish Lions Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the back three.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes in all for the visit of champions Ireland to Murrayfield on Saturday, with the other three switches coming in the pack.

Prop Simon Berghan, yellow-carded against Italy, and back-row Josh Strauss start in place of the injured Willem Nel (calf) and Sam Skinner (ankle) respectively.

"We picked up two injuries from last week with WP (Nel) and Sam (Skinner) missing out, which is disappointing for us and them, but have had a boost with a number of proven Test players returning from injury and available to us this week," said Townsend.

"To have that calibre of player and experience around the group in the build-up this week, and during a game of such magnitude, is very important."

Meanwhile Jonny Gray's recovery from a shoulder injury sees him replace lock Ben Toolis, who moves to the bench.

Reigning Six Nations champions Ireland, whose hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams ended with a 32-20 defeat by England in Dublin last weekend, were due to name their side later Thursday.

Ireland beat Scotland 28-8 in Dublin last season but their most recent visit to Murrayfield saw the Irish beaten 27-22 two years ago.

Former Scotland playmaker Townsend said, however, his side were set for their most daunting assignment in the whole of the Championship this weekend.

"It’s massive. It's probably the biggest challenge we’ll face in the Guinness Six Nations, given the way Ireland have been playing in the last few years – they are Grand Slam Champions and the number-two team in the world," Townsend said.

"They’re very well coached, have some outstanding players and will test us in a number of areas –- defensively, set-piece, attack and kicking game. 

"It is a challenge that brings an extra edge and focus to training and something our players relish taking on."

He added: "Our players have risen to the challenge of playing New Zealand, England and other world-class teams and they are aware that we must rise once more to produce one of our best-ever performances for 80 minutes."



15 Stuart Hogg; 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland; 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain); 8 Josh Strauss, 7 James Ritchie, 6 Ryan Wilson; 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist; 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Allan Dell

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 D'arcy Rae, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Ali Price, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Blair Kinghorn


15 Rob Kearney; 14 Keith Earls, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale; 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 8 Jack Conan, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony; 5 James Ryan, 4 Quinn Roux; 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Cian Healy

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 John Cooney, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour

Read more on:    ireland  |  scotland  |  six nations  |  sean maitland  |  rugby


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Saturday, 23 February 2019
France v Scotland, Stade de France 16:15
Wales v England, Principality Stadium 18:45
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico 17:00
Saturday, 09 March 2019
Scotland v Wales, BT Murrayfield Stadium 16:15
England v Italy, Twickenham Stadium 18:45
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