Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland in starting line-up for Scotland’s Six Nations game against Ireland, with Darcy Graham on bench

Scotland rugby head coach Gregor Townsend has named his starting line-up for this weekend’s Six Nations game against Ireland and it features two fellow Borderers, captain Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland, with a third, Darcy Graham, among the substitutes.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 3:57 pm
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg in action for club side Exeter Chiefs in Bath on Saturday, March 6. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Former Gala and Border Reivers star Townsend has made four changes to his starting XV for the Scots’ third game of the tournament, kicking off at 3pm at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium on Sunday, March 14.

In the pack, prop Willem Nel comes in at tighthead to pack down alongside hooker George Turner and loosehead prop Sutherland, 28.

Jamie Ritchie, previously thought to be set to miss out through injury, returns at blindside flanker to accompany Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson in the loose forwards, with Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings continuing their second-row partnership for the seventh successive international.

Hogg, 28, and wingers Duhan van der Merwe and the returning Sean Maitland form the back three, with Sam Johnson featuring for the first time in 2021’s Six Nations, joining Chris Harris in the centres.

Finn Russell and Ali Price continue their half-back partnership for the third game in a row after victory away to England and defeat at home to Wales.

Simon Berghan and Jamie Bhatti are named in the replacements alongside second-row Grant Gilchrist and back-row Nick Haining, with all four primed for their first involvement of the year, alongside hooker David Cherry.Scott Steele, Huw Jones and Graham, 23, are the options in the backs from the bench.Townsend, 47, said: “We are well aware of the threats posed by an experienced Ireland squad, and our players have prepared for a contest they know is going to require one of their best performances.

"We had prepared well for our postponed game against France, and the players have adapted well to the change of plans and have brought real energy and focus to our training sessions this week.

"Playing Ireland is always a physical affair and one that demands you keep stepping up to make tackles or contest for possession.

“They have played well in their opening three games of the Championship and have some outstanding players in their squad.

“It should be a cracking game.”

Sunday’s game can be seen on BBC One.

It will be ex-Hawick player Hogg’s 83rd appearance for Scotland and fellow former Green Sutherland’s 14th. If Graham, another ex-Hawick player, gets a run out, it will be his 17th cap.

A Scotland jersey from the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan signed by Hogg and Graham and a pair of boots signed by Hogg are among the lots being auctioned off at a virtual dinner being hosted by Hawick Rugby Club tonight, March 12.See also …