Planet Rugby

Hogg starts for Scotland A

29th January 2014 15:02


Ally Hogg Newcastle Falcons

In from the wilderness: Ally Hogg

Scotland A head coach Shade Munro has named Ally Hogg at number eight for his side's clash with England Saxons on Friday.

The Scottish A side are looking for their third win in a row over the "Auld Enemy", having won 13-9 in Newcastle last year, 12 months after running in four tries to beat the Saxons 35-0 at Galashiels.

The starting XV on Friday includes a mix of youth and experience, with eight players from Glasgow Warriors, three from Edinburgh and four exiles.

Fraser Brown, Blair Cowan, Kieran Low, Byron McGuigan, Mark Bennett and captain Jonny Gray will all make their first appearance for Scotland A, while Olly Atkins, Kevin Bryce, Tyrone Holmes and Grayson Hart could debut from the bench.

Jonny Gray and Kieran Low, who won full Scotland caps during the Autumn November Tests, will combine in the second-row.

Hogg, 31, who made his Scotland A debut against Romania in 2002, starts at number eight and will feature in a blue jersey for the first time since 2009, when he represented the full Scotland team.

"If you're going to have a one off game it's great to have it against England," said Munro.

"We're trying to win our third game in a row against England Saxons, but we know how difficult the game is going to be and we'll need to be at our best to get a positive result.

"The players have one game to show what they can do before the Six Nations gets underway and it's a chance for them to showcase their skills in terms of promoting themselves to the national team.

"It's fantastic for Jonny Gray to captain the side. He's only 19 and he's captaining a senior Scottish national team. He has played particularly well this season and deserves all the accolades given to him.

"Allister Hogg has been playing very well for Newcastle Falcons, so he'll also be a key player for us on Friday.

"There is a great mix of youth and experience within our squad and it's really encouraging to see so many young players coming through and getting the opportunity.

"It's absolutely fantastic to be playing the game in Glasgow for the first time and I hope the fans come out in numbers to support the team."

Scotland A: 15 Jack Cuthbery, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Grove, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray (c), 4 Kieran Low, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Olly Atkins, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Richie Vernon.

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