LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Scotland have recalled number eight Dave Denton and lock Jim Hamilton as they seek to compete with England’s forward power in Saturday’s Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Denton, out of action for two months with a calf injury, comes in for his first taste of the 2015 Six Nations, replacing Johnnie Beattie while Hamilton comes in for Tim Swinson in the team announced on Thursday.
Winger Dougie Fife, a try-scorer against France in Scotland’s opening game, and centre Matt Scott get their first starts of the campaign in place of the injured Sean Lamont and Alex Dunbar, the latter suffering a knee problem in training on Thursday.
Finn Russell returns from suspension at flyhalf in place of Peter Horne while there are changes to the replacements, altering the balance in favour of the forward pack, six to two.
“Jim comes in and will bring his physicality and understanding of English rugby to our forward pack,” coach Vern Cotter said of Saracens second row Hamilton.
”It’s good to have Dave Denton back as he provides us with strong ball-carrying and strong defence. He’s also a very good lineout forward and will give us a bit more physical density against a big forward pack.
“It’s been tough on Finn to sit out and it’s great to have him back. He’s slotted straight back in to the structure we’re looking for.”
Scotland have not won at Twickenham for 32 years and, after showing encouraging signs in opening defeats by France and Wales, they were poor in defeat at home by Italy and start the 1700GMT match as huge outsiders.
“It will be played away from home at a very intense level and will allow us to assess further our ability to operate away from home in a hostile environment,” said Cotter.
“Our focus, however, has been on ourselves and how we can perform better, by identifying the areas that we can control -- like improving our skill-sets and reinforcing our cohesion -- to withstand the difficult times and also apply some pressure.”
Scotland: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Dougie Fife, 13-Mark Bennett, 12-Matt Scott, 11-Tommy Seymour, 10-Finn Russell, 9-Greig Laidlaw; 8-David Denton, 7-Blair Cowan, 6-Robert Harley, 5-Jonny Gray, 4-Jim Hamilton, 3-Euan Murray, 2-Ross Ford, 1-Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Ryan Grant, 18-Geoff Cross, 19-Tim Swinson, 20-Johnnie Beattie, 21-Adam Ashe; 22-Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 23-Greig Tonks (Editing by: Toby Davis)