Finn Russell was dropped by Scotland coach Gregor Townsend as he bid for his first win over the Irish this Saturday and damaged the Three Crowns and their title chances.
Ussell’s growing indiscipline and poor form prompted Townsend to make a change, but it was still a shocking decision and could determine the coach’s future.
The pair have history, with Townsend and Russell suffering a public decline two years ago when the Racing 92 player was temporarily expelled from the team.
Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh extra time was rewarded for some impressive performances, including his starring role in the United Rugby Championship’s recent win over Connacht two weeks ago, and will team up with Ali Price, who was hit the 50th mark in a win over Italy last weekend.
Exeter Chiefs second row Jonny Gray has also returned to the starting XV for the 15th time after being ruled out of Scotland’s last two games through injury.
Stuart Hogg once again led the team from full-back with Edinburgh’s Darcy Graham on one wing and Glasgow Warriors’ Kyle Steyn selected on the other after a starting role against Italy.
In the center, Chris Harris of Gloucester Rugby and Sam Johnson of the Glasgow Warriors started together in the third game for this championship.
In the front row, Edinburgh Rugby’s Pierre Schoeman was named alongside George Turner and Glasgow Warriors’ Zander Fagerson. Vice-captain Grant Gilchrist will pair up with Jonny Gray.
Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson will go one step further to hit 50 appearances and with him in the back row will be Glasgow Warriors duo Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson, both praised for their performances. outstanding so far in the championship.
In the substitution, Fraser Brown is named and will be targeted to add to his 54 caps, along with front row operators Allan Dell and WP Nel. Sam Skinner is also on the list, while Bath Rugby’s Josh Bayliss was selected for the first time in this year’s Guinness Six Nations after debuting against Australia in the Autumn Nations Series 2021.
London Irish’s Ben White returned to the team after not participating last week and Edinburgh Rugby’s Mark Bennett was selected as a replacement alongside Racing 92’s Finn Russell.
Team Scotland (to face Ireland in the 2022 Guinness World Cup at Aviva Stadium, Dublin, live on ITV, Saturday 19 March – opening at 16:45pm): Stuart Hogg (Captain); Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Kyle Steyn; Blair Kinghorn, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Jonny Grey, Grant Gilchrist; Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson. To replace: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Sam Skinner
Josh Bayliss, Ben White, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/six-nations-shock-as-gregor-townsend-drops-finn-russell-from-scotland-starting-line-up-41457565.html Six Nations: Shock as Gregor Townsend drops Finn Russell from Scotland starting lineup