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Scotland’s Calcutta Cup hopes boosted by Skinner’s return

Sam Skinner has returned to a Scotland side showing six changes as they look to retain the Calcutta Cup and derail England’s Six Nations hopes on Saturday.

Skinner injured his ankle in Scotland’s 33-20 win over Italy in round one and was a doubt to feature again in the tournament for Gregor Townsend’s side.

However, the blindside flanker is fit enough to be part of Scotland’s pack at Twickenham as they look to get back to winning ways after three successive defeats.

Josh Strauss drops to the bench to accommodate Skinner’s return, with Magnus Bradbury shifting to number eight.

With Blair Kinghorn, Tommy Seymour and Jamie Ritchie all unavailable due to injury, there are places in the starting XV for Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan and Hamish Watson.

Ben Toolis comes in for fellow lock Jonny Gray, who is among the replacements, while Sam Johnson is recalled at inside centre at the expense of Peter Horne.

Scotland also welcome back Chris Harris from a calf injury, the Newcastle Falcons back joining Greig Laidlaw on the bench.

“Both Sam Skinner and Ben Toolis started for us against Italy and deserve another opportunity to show what they can do in a blue jersey,” said Townsend.

“Sam brings a lot of set-piece nous and gives us good balance in the back-row and we are keen to give Magnus [Bradbury] an opportunity to start at number eight.

“His match fitness has grown over the last two games and he did a number of good things last weekend. There is more to come from him and, as a pack, we know we have to deliver a massive performance of work-rate and physicality this weekend.”

 

Scotland XV: Sean Maitland, Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Byron McGuigan, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally (captain), WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Jonny Gray, Josh Strauss, Greig Laidlaw, Adam Hastings, Chris Harris.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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