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Townsend expecting Maitland to be busy against England

British & Irish Lion Sean Maitland starts at full-back for Scotland on Saturday as his side look to defend the Calcutta Cup Trophy at Twickenham.

The 30-year-old, who made five appearances for the Lions on Tour to Australia in 2013, missed out against Wales last time out but has recovered from his heel injury to start at Twickenham.

British & Irish Lion Sean Maitland starts at full-back for Scotland on Saturday as his side look to defend the Calcutta Cup Trophy at Twickenham.

The 30-year-old, who made five appearances for the Lions on Tour to Australia in 2013, missed out against Wales last time out but has recovered from his heel injury to start at Twickenham.

Amid injury issues for Scotland regular full-backs Stuart Hogg and Blair Kinghorn miss the Round Five clash in the Six Nations, with speedster Maitland shifting round to full-back having played on the wing against France and Ireland.

And with England kicking the ball more than any other side in the Championship thus far, with 134 kicks from hand compared to Scotland’s 82, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is expecting his No.15 to be busy.

“It’s good to have Sean Maitland back in the back-three alongside Darcy Graham and Byron McGuigan, who both played well last weekend,” commented Townsend.

“We’re really pleased to have players like Sean back in the team, back from injury and into the side.
“These three players and the team as a whole will have to put in a lot of work off the ball to counter England’s threat on Saturday.

“England are a quality side and have been playing really well throughout the Championship.

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“They’ve kicked the ball more than any other team in the Six Nations, which has worked well for them and produced tries, and it also shows that they are more than comfortable defending for several phases.”

There are other Lions dotted around Townsend’s team for the London clash, with 2017 tourists Finn Russell starting at fly-half and Allan Dell at loosehead prop – scrum-half Greig Laidlaw is among the replacements.

Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair is also backing Maitland to perform well at full-back, citing the 53-24 victory over Australia in 2017, in which Maitland scored, as influential in selection this week.

Blair commented: “With Hoggy, Blair (Kinghorn) and Tommy (Seymour) injured, Sean played really well at full-back against Australia when we had a good win, so he comes into the mix.”

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