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LionsWatch: Watson returns for Scotland’s Calcutta Cup clash

LionsWatch: Watson returns for Scotland’s Calcutta Cup clash

British & Irish Lions Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray will lead from the front as Scotland go in search of history against England on Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations.

"We’ve asked some questions of ourselves in the areas we think we can improve and we’re confident we can play better as a team."

British & Irish Lions Stuart Hogg and Richie Gray will lead from the front as Scotland go in search of history against England on Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations.

Not since 1983 have the Scots won at Twickenham and they take on an England side on Saturday looking to equal New Zealand’s record of 18 Test victories in a row for a Tier One nation.

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Vern Cotter makes just one change to the side that beat Wales in Round Three under the watchful eye of Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland.

Hamish Watson comes in to start again at openside flanker with John Hardie ruled out for the rest of the Championship with a knee injury.

Gatland will announce his Lions playing squad on April 19  and will again be in attendance on Saturday at Twickenham as the Auld Enemies do battle.

This is one of the final chances to audition for a place on the plane to New Zealand and Scotland head coach Vern Cotter insists his side are ready to take their game to the next level.

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“We have another two games to go in this Championship and this next one is obviously pretty important. There’s a lot to play for and several reasons why we should be able to get up for this game,” he said.

“We’ve rested, recovered and prepared as best we can for this game. We’ve asked some questions of ourselves in the areas we think we can improve and we’re confident we can play better as a team. That’s our next challenge, to step that up.

“The challenge is for us to combine the best parts of our performances so far in this campaign in to one excellent performance at Twickenham this Saturday.

“We’ll need that to put us in a position to win this game and will enjoy the challenge of doing that against an England team that hasn’t lost in a while.”

Watson’s place on the bench is taken by his Edinburgh teammate Cornell Du Preez – who would be making his debut if called upon as a replacement.

Elsewhere the team remains unchanged as Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser keep their spots in a dangerous-looking back three.

TEAM | Midfield v England: The centre partnership of Alex Dunbar & Huw Jones takes another step with their fourth successive start together. pic.twitter.com/i1d0fSvPEi

— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 9, 2017


Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar remain the centre pairing with Finn Russell and Ali Price at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

Up front the all Glasgow Warriors front row of Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson continue with Gray and his brother Jonny in the second row and Watson, Ryan Wilson and John Barclay in the back row.

Joining du Preez on the bench are Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Ross Ford and Tim Swinson as forward cover, while Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir and Mark Bennett cover the backs.
 
Scotland team to play England at Twickenham, RBS 6 Nations
Saturday 11 March (kick-off 4pm) – live on ITV

 
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
13. Huw Jones (Stormers) – 6 caps
12. Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
11. Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 29 caps
10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
 
1. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
4. Richie Gray (Toulouse) – 63 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 31 caps
6. John Barclay CAPTAIN (Scarlets) – 58 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps
8. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
 
Replacements:
16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 105 caps
17. Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby) – 6 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh Rugby) – 1 cap
19. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 27 caps
20. Cornell Du Preez (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
21. Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
22. Duncan Weir (Edinburgh Rugby) – 25 caps
23. Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
 

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