Gregor Townsend has today named his side to face off against Eddie Jones’s England in the first game of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations. It will mark the 150th Anniversary of the first time they faced off, which was also the very first international rugby game played.
Stuart Hogg has once again been named Captain for the tournament and will win his 81st cap for Scotland on Saturday.
There are a total of 5 changes to the starting line-up from the final 2020 Guinness Six Nations match against Wales in October, with a debut cap for young Bath centre Cameron Redpath – son of former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath.
“It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new player into our squad and we are looking forward to Cam Redpath winning his first cap on Saturday. We have been really impressed with Cam’s contributions in the time he has been with us in camp. There are a number of experienced players in the backline to help make his transition to Test rugby go as smoothly as possible, and he has the mindset and skillset to thrive at this level.– Gregor Townsend
The selection of Redpath will likely put a few necks out of joint at Twickenham, considering the dual qualified player had previously trained with England and was selected for Eddie Jones’s tour to South Africa in 2018 – only to miss out due to injury.
It has been seen as something of a coup that the talented young centre has chosen Scotland, despite being qualified for both England and France – due to his father’s stints playing at Narbonne and Sale.
He will partner fellow English based Gloucester man Chris Harris in the centres, signalling that Townsend is looking for a blend of a skill and defensive muscle in the backline.
The other changes in the backline see veteran Sean Maitland and newboy Duhan van der Merwe team up on the wings, with Darcy Graham dropping out of the squad altogether.
Experienced duo Finn Russell and Ali Price complete the backline at fly half and scrum half respectively.
In the pack, there are two changes with Glasgow Warriors George Turner coming in at hooker and Matt Fagerson packing down at 8.
With former Captain Stuart McInally and Warrior Fraser Brown both out injured, Turner will be making his 6 Nations debut at 2.
He will be sandwiched between rising Edinburgh star Rory Sutherland and Glasgow’s Zander Fagerson.
Head Coach Townsend has resisted the urge to reunite the Gray bothers at lock, instead keeping the in-form Scott Cummings in place alongside Exeter Chief Jonny.
Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie complete the relatively young back row, sharing just 68 caps between them.
On the bench, Dave Cherry is set to make his fairytale debut at hooker, aged 30. The Merchiston Castle alum has taken the long way round to international rugby, having spent 3 year at London Scottish, then a 2 at French Fédérale 2 side Stade Niçois, before coming to Edinburgh at 28.
There is also a return for fan favourite Ritchie Gray, who could win his first cap for Scotland in 3 years. The 31 year old rangy lock has been in fine form for Glasgow since returning to Scotland from Toulouse last year, and many fans would relish seeing him pack down alongside his brother again.
WP Nel and Oli Kebble are the other front-row cover, alongside fellow forward Gary Graham. Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt and Huw Jones complete the matchday 23.
As we all know, Scotland haven’t beaten England away at Twickenham since 1983. None of the players in the 23 had been born then, and Gregor Townsend is well aware of scale of the task presented: “We are set for a huge challenge against England as we will be facing one of the best teams in the world.”
“The opportunity of competing for the Calcutta Cup against our oldest rivals is something to get Scots around the world excited about.Gregor Townsend
Scotland Team To Play England
Saturday 6 February (kick-off 4.45pm) – live on ITV Sport
- 15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 80 caps
- 14. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 50 caps
- 13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 23 caps
- 12. Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) – 0 caps
- 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 5 caps
- 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 51 caps
- 9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 37 caps
- 1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
- 2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
- 3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 34 caps
- 4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 17 caps
- 5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 61 caps
- 6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
- 7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh – 36 caps
- 8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
- 16. David Cherry (Edinburgh) – 0 caps
- 17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
- 18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) – 40 caps
- 19. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 65 caps
- 20. Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – 2 caps
- 21. Scott Steele (Harlequins) – 1 cap
- 22. Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
- 23. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps