Rennie relishing first start

Edinburgh back row Ross Rennie will make his first start for Scotland this Saturday. [more]

Rennie relishing first start

Edinburgh back row Ross Rennie will make his first start for Scotland this Saturday.

Rennie has been named at openside flanker for the World Cup warm up against Ireland at Murrayfield as head coach Andy Robinson rings the changes from the side that beat Italy in the final match of the RBS 6 Nations.

The 25-year-old has made six international appearances as a replacement but has now been selected alongside Gloucester’s Alasdair Strokosch and Glasgow’s Johnnie Beattie in a new-look back row.

"I’m absolutely delighted. I was really, really happy to see myself in the starting XV," said Rennie, who has endured an injury-ravaged career to date, with a serious knee complaint disrupting his anticipated progress.

"Since I got my first cap, I’ve always wanted to start a game and to see ho we go. Now I’ve been given that opportunity and I’m going to try and take it.

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"I’ve worked hard for the last few seasons and had some ups and downs but to get a start now does make all the dark days worthwhile."

Also given a chance to prove that his bad times are behind him is star No8 Beattie, who missed the majority of last term with a shoulder injury. One third of Scotland’s famous Killer Bs back row with John Barclay and Kelly Brown, Beattie was in outstanding form for his country before undergoing surgery last summer.

Strokosch takes over from 2009 Lion Nathan Hines on the blindside, while scrum-half Rory Lawson skippers the side from scrum-half, with regular captain Al Kellock on the bench.

Test Lion Ross Ford is named vice captain for the first of Scotland’s two summer friendlies but fellow tourists Mike Blair, Chris Cusiter, Euan Murray and Hines aren’t involved.

"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," added Robinson.

"I am 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."

Robinson has selected Joe Ansbro and Graeme Morrison at centre in a move that sees Sean Lamont switch back to the wing.

There are two uncapped players in the matchday 22, with 21-year-old Edinburgh flanker David Denton and Bath’s 23-year-old full back Jack Cuthbert hoping to make their debuts.

Scotland: C Paterson (Edinburgh); N Walker (Ospreys), J Ansbro (London Irish), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Scarlets); R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), R Lawson (Gloucester); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), J Hamilton (Gloucester), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors), A Strokosch (Gloucester), J Beattie (Glasgow Warriors), R Rennie (Edinburgh)

Replacements: D Hall (Glasgow Warriors), A Dickinson (Sale Sharks), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), D Denton (Edinburgh), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), N De Luca (Edinburgh), J Cuthbert (Bath)

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