Scots Bring In Quartet For Irish Clash

Scotland have made at least four changes in personnel for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Ireland in Dublin. Scott MacLeod and Alasdair Strokosch are introduced to the pack and Rory Lamont and Simon Webster return from injury to the backs. Jim Hamilton, Dan Parks and Nick De Luca all revert to the bench while Jason White has been ruled out with concussion.

Scotland have made at least four changes in personnel for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations Championship match against Ireland in Dublin.

Scott MacLeod and Alasdair Strokosch are introduced to the pack and Rory Lamont and Simon Webster return from injury to the backs. Jim Hamilton, Dan Parks and Nick De Luca all revert to the bench while Jason White has been ruled out with concussion.

MacLeod will be making his first start since the meeting with the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup, while Strokosch makes his debut in the Championship and will win his second cap overall, two days after his 25th birthday.

In the injury absence of White, who has not yet recovered from the head knock he sustained against Wales, scrum-half Mike Blair becomes Scotland's 108th captain.

One other positional switch sees Chris Paterson move from wing to stand-off.

Meanwhile the composition of Scotland's back-row is still to be finalised. Head coach Frank Hadden explained: "We are waiting to assess the fitness of John Barclay. Then we will decide on who fills jerseys number 7, 8 and 19."

That decision is likely to be made by tomorrow. The four players in contention are Barclay, Kelly Brown, Allister Hogg and Ross Rennie.

On the challenge facing his team at Croke Park, Hadden said: _x001C_We are determined to give our supporters something to smile about this weekend. There is a strong collective desire to produce a performance that will lead us to a win._x001D_

Scotland team (sponsor Murray) to play Ireland at Croke Park, Dublin in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Saturday 23 February (kick-off 5pm):


15 Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh)
14 Nikki Walker (Ospreys)
13 Simon Webster (Edinburgh)
12 Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors)
11 Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks)

10 Chris Paterson (Gloucester)
9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh) CAPTAIN


1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh)
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh)
3 Euan Murray (Northampton Saints)
4 Nathan Hines (Perpignan)
5 Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets)
6 Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester)
8 TBC

7 TBC

Substitutes:

16 Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors)
17 Gavin Kerr (Edinburgh)
18 Jim Hamilton (Leicester Tigers)
19 TBC
20 Chris Cusiter (Perpignan)
21 Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors)
22 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh)

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France). Touch-judges: Nigel Owens (Wales) and Hugh Watkins (Wales). TMO: Romain Poite (France)