Scotland v England: Jonny Gray back in experienced team for Six Nations opener

Scotland training, Jonny Gray
Jonny Gray returns to the Scotland XV against England
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday 5 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Gregor Townsend has named an experienced Scotland team for Saturday’s Six Nations opener at home to England, with Jonny Gray returning.

Lock Gray missed the autumn series though injury and he is joined in the second row by Grant Gilchrist.

Stuart Hogg captains the side at full-back with Finn Russell at fly-half and brothers Matt and Zander Fagerson in the pack.

Scrum-half Ben White is on the bench, the only uncapped player in the squad.

The past two Six Nations meetings of the countries have been won by the away side, with Scotland triumphing 11-6 at Twickenham last year after losing 13-6 at Murrayfield in 2020.

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Scotland team to face England: Hogg; Graham, Harris, Johnson, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson, J Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: McInally, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M Bradbury, White, Kinghorn, Tuipulotu.

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Thirteen of the XV who started last year’s closing Six Nations win over France are in the line-up, with the forwards of Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Russell and Ali Price exactly the same.

Hogg and Russell’s fellow British and Irish Lion Hamish Watson is at openside.

Head coach Townsend said: “We are aware of how much winning at Twickenham boosted the spirits of our supporters at the start of last year’s tournament, and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them in person this year.

“We are under no illusions on the tough challenge we have ahead of us against an England side who defeated the world champions (South Africa) in their last outing.

“The starting 15 we have named has a consistent feel to it which is great for cohesion but we will also benefit from returning players such as Jonny Gray and Rory Sutherland who have been important for us in recent seasons.

“Ben White has been in very good form for London Irish and has trained well in the last two weeks, so can approach his first involvement at Test level with real confidence.”

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