Hogg captains new-look Scotland for Six Nations opener
Stuart Hogg will lead a new-look Scotland side into the heat of the battle for their Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Uncapped Nick Haining has been handed his first start for his country as part of an all-Edinburgh back row alongside Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie.
In fact, Haining’s inclusion is one of 10 changes made by Gregor Townsend to the starting XV that faced Japan in Scotland’s final match of the Rugby World Cup last year.
Adam Hastings replaces Finn Russell at fly-half while prop Rory Sutherland makes his first start for three-and-a-half years as Huw Jones returns to the side.
Scott Cummings will also make his Six Nations debut in Dublin, Blair Kinghorn replaces the injured Darcy Graham on the wing and Ali Price and Sean Maitland will also start.
Townsend said: “We have managed to cover a lot of work in the two weeks we’ve been together and we’ve been impressed with how our players have taken on information and bonded as a team.
“Our goal is always to play to our potential. The challenge to do this starts on Saturday against Ireland. Playing to our potential starts with our collective mindset.
“That means being alert, focussed and resilient right from the beginning, to be ready for the physical battle that lies ahead and able to stay in the fight throughout the 80 minutes.
“We must be a relentless collective on the pitch and a nightmare for the Irish to deal with, while having the ability and awareness to impose our game at that intensity.
“As coaches, we put frameworks together and create an environment for them to thrive and reach their potential but ultimately it’s the players who go out and deliver.”
Scotland team to play Ireland in Dublin – Saturday 1 February (kick-off 4.45pm):
15. Stuart Hogg (c) (Exeter Chiefs) – 72 caps
14. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 44 caps
13. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 3 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 8 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
8. Nick Haining (Edinburgh) – uncapped
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 33 caps
17. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 28 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 24 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
20. Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 6 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
22. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 3 caps
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 14 caps