Graham shelved but Borders three set to face Ireland

Stuart Hogg scores a try against Italy which was disallowed (picture by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stuart Hogg scores a try against Italy which was disallowed (picture by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ex-Gala flanker Gary Graham is on the sidelines as Scotland name the starting line-up for Saturday’s second-round Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 2.15pm, live on BBC).

There’s no place in the squad this time for Gary, son of Hawick head coach George Graham, after he gained his first cap last week with a late appearance against Italy, as a sub for Ryan Wilson.

However, fullback Stuart Hogg and scrum half-captain Greig Laidlaw , who contributed a few points to last week’s win, retain their places.

Ex-Melrose prop Jamie Bhatti is on the bench once again, although another not in contention is Selkirk’s Lee Jones, who has a knee injury.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has welcomed the added experience of last year’s top try-scoring Saracens wing, Sean Maitland, who has recovered from a hamstring injury to start in place of last weekend’s hat-trick try-scorer Blair Kinghorn, who moves to the bench.

Maitland will form a familiar back-three with fellow British & Irish Lions Tommy Seymour and full-back Hogg, who will bring a combined 150 caps and 49 tries into their 18th Scotland Test start as a trio this Saturday.

The remaining changes come in the pack, where prop Simon Berghan and back-row Josh Strauss start in place of injured forwards Willem Nel (calf) and Sam Skinner (ankle), while Jonny Gray’s recovery from a shoulder injury sees him replace second-row Ben Toolis, who moves to the bench.

The bench sees four further changes, where uncapped prop D’arcy Rae takes the replacement spot vacated by Berghan, experienced Glasgow Warriors pair Fraser Brown (hooker) and Pete Horne (centre) return from injury to feature for the first time in the campaign, and fellow Warrior Rob Harley is drafted in from outwith the wider squad into the match-day 23.

Townsend said: “We picked up two injuries from last week, with Nel and Skinner - missing out, which is disappointing for us and them, but have had a boost with a number of proven Test players returning from injury and available to us this week.

“To have that calibre of player and experience around the group in the build-up this week, and during a game of such magnitude, is very important.”

Looking ahead to Saturday, Townsend added: “It’s massive. It’s probably the biggest challenge we’ll face in the Guinness Six Nations, given the way Ireland have been playing in the last few years – they are Grand Slam Champions and the number -two team in the world.

“They’re very well coached, have some outstanding players and will test us in a number of areas – defensively, set-piece, attack and kicking game. It is a challenge that brings an extra edge and focus to training and something our players relish taking on.

“Our players have risen to the challenge of playing New Zealand, England and other world-class teams and they are aware that we must rise once more to produce one of our best-ever performances for 80 minutes.”

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne, captain); Allan Dell (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks). Substitutes: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), D’arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh).