GALA’S Geoff Cross (pictured) will join Ross Ford (Kelso) in the Scotland front row for Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship meeting with Ireland at Murrayfield.
Cross, who scored a try against New Zealand in his last start for Scotland, is the only change from the team that began the 34-10 victory over Italy earlier this month.
Stuart Hogg (Hawick) and Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest) both retain their places.
The 30-year-old Edinburgh Rugby prop replaces Euan Murray, the Worcester tight-head, who is unavailable for this weekend as a result of his Christian faith.
Meanwhile on the bench, Dougie Hall has recovered from the knee injury he sustained against England and is restored as replacement hooker with Ford in the starting XV.
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said: “We have to improve on our last game and that’s been our theme at training all week.
“I make no apology for saying again that we have to step up our work in the contact area. Yes, we’ve some talented athletes in the squad , but we have to give them the opportunities.
“It’s good to see players challenging for selection – and there are a number consistently putting their hands up, which is exactly what we want to see.
“But we’ve kept changes to a minimum and are saying to the players: ‘You’ve won one game. Now go out show us you can win another.”
Scotland team (sponsor RBS) to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Sunday (kick-off 2pm): Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton, Robert Harley, Kelly Brown, Johnnie Beattie. Subs: Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock, David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Max Evans.