ROSS Ford has been dropped in favour of Dougie Hall by Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson for Saturday’s 6 Nations opener against England.
The Kelso hooker started against New Zealand and South Africa in the autumn tests but was left out of the final defeat against Tonga, which resulted in the resignation of Andy Robinson as coach.
Hall’s appearance will be his first start for six years, while there are also a recall for Johnnie Beattie at number eight.
Glasgow Warriors winger Sean Maitland will earn his first cap, having only signed for Glasgow in October but being eligible for Scotland through both his grandfathers.
Hawick’s Stuart Hogg starts at full-back, while Greig Laidlaw has been named as vice-captain but moves to scrum half to allow Ruaridh Jackson to start at stand-off.
Melrose’s Kelly Brown will lead Scotland as captain at flanker, while prop Geoff Cross of Galashiels is on the bench alongside Ford.
The other vice-captain is Ryan Grant, despite the prop only earning five caps so far.
Johnson said: “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.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 4pm.
Read this Thursday’s Southern for an preview of Scotland’s 6 Nations campaign with assistant coach Stevie Scott.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors, Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby); Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), 2 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), Richie Gray (Sale Sharks),
Jim Hamilton (Gloucester Rugby), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Kelly Brown (Saracens),
Johnnie Beattie (Montpellier).
Subs: Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), Max Evans (Castres).