Maitland to wing it for Scotland

Date published: January 29 2013

Scotland interim coach Scott Johnson has awarded a Test debut to wing Sean Maitland for Saturday's Six Nations clash with England.

Interim head coach Scott Johnson has awarded a Test debut to wing Sean Maitland for Saturday's Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham.

In addition to New Zealand-born Maitland, the Kiwi's Glasgow Warriors team-mate Dougie Hall gets his first start in six years at hooker while number eight Johnnie Beattie is recalled to the side.

In all, Johnson has made six changes and one additional positional switch from the team that ended the November Tests with defeat to Tonga in Aberdeen for this weekend's Calcutta Cup clash.

Sean Lamont moves from wing to centre, Ruaridh Jackson returns at fly-half with Greig Laidlaw starting an international for the first time at scrum-half – the position in which he was reared and in which his uncle, Roy Laidlaw, scored a superb solo try in Scotland's last Twickenham victory in 1983.

In the pack Ryan Grant is restored from injury at loosehead, Hall begins a Scotland game for the first time since the 2007 Championship match against Ireland at Murrayfield and completing the front-row Euan Murray becomes the 33rd Scot to reach the landmark of 50 or more caps.

Jim Hamilton is recalled to partner Richie Gray in the second row and, in the back-row, Beattie is back on duty for the first time since the pre RWC warm-up match against Ireland at Murrayfield in 2011.

“I've spoken about the importance of this competition, the history and tradition of it, and you couldn't get a more mouth-watering opening than the game between international rugby's oldest foes,” said Johnson.

“Selection for us has been about form but also with an eye to the future.

“Sean Maitland is very proud to be pulling on the Scotland jersey for the first time. His family will be rapt because they raised him in New Zealand always reminding him of his Scottish heritage, getting up in the early hours of the morning to watch both the Five and Six Nations games on the TV.

“He's shown he can play footy with the best of them and the impact he's made since arriving at Glasgow in the autumn has underlined what we'd seen of him playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

“I've named Greig and Ryan as vice-captains because they're both quality rugby players and the sort of blokes that I reckon can add to the leadership mix.

“I've been impressed by what I've seen of Johnnie Beattie. He brings dynamism to our back-row and we're looking for him to bring that to bear on Saturday.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Moray Low, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.

Date: Saturday, 2 February
Venue: Twickenham
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland) and Leighton Hodges (Wales)