January 30, 2020 / 12:27 PM / a month ago

Haining to make Scotland debut against Ireland in Six Nations opener

(Reuters) - Edinburgh number eight Nick Haining will make his Scotland debut as Gregor Townsend’s side kick off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool A - Scotland v Russia - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan - October 9, 2019 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

Head coach Gregor Townsend has made 10 changes from the starting lineup that faced Japan in their final match of the Rugby World Cup.

Adam Hastings will replace flyhalf Finn Russell, who will not be involved at the Aviva Stadium after being disciplined for breaching team protocol during a training camp last week.

Haining will feature in an all-Edinburgh back row with fit-again Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie.

Hooker Fraser Brown retains his place and will be flanked by in-form props Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, who is returning to the squad for the first time in 3-1/2 years.

Fullback and new captain Stuart Hogg and Glasgow centre Sam Johnson are the only players retained in the back division, where scrumhalf Ali Price and wing Sean Maitland start in place of recent international retirees Greig Laidlaw and Tommy Seymour.

Townsend was satisfied with his team’s preparations as they look to record their first win on Irish soil in 10 years.

“We have managed to cover a lot of work in the two weeks we’ve been together and we’ve been impressed with how our players have taken on information and bonded as a team,” he said.

“Our goal is always to play to our potential. The challenge to do this starts on Saturday against Ireland.

“As coaches, we put frameworks together and create an environment for them to thrive and reach their potential but ultimately it’s the players who go out and deliver.”

Starting XV: 15-Stuart Hogg (captain), 14-Sean Maitland, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Sam Johnson, 11-Blair Kinghorn, 10-Adam Hastings, 9-Ali Price, 8-Nick Haining, 7-Hamish Watson, 6-Jamie Ritchie, 5- Jonny Gray, 4-Scott Cummings, 3-Zander Fagerson, 2-Fraser Brown, 1-Rory Sutherland

Replacements: 16-Stuart McInally, 17-Allan Dell, 18-Simon Berghan, 19-Ben Toolis, 20-Cornell du Preez, 21-George Horne, 22-Rory Hutchinson, 23-Chris Harris.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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