Scotland A Steeled For Saxons

Scotland A will look to claim only their third ever win over English opposition when they play England Saxons at Netherdale on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm, admission free).

In ten meetings between the teams since 1997, the Scots have emerged victorious on two occasions, a 44-14 triumph at Inverleith in 1998 that sealed a Five Nations Grand Slam for Graham Hogg’s men and a 13-7 success in the Churchill Cup in Toronto in June 2006.

Scotland A will look to claim only their third ever win over English opposition when they play England Saxons at Netherdale on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm, admission free).

In ten meetings between the teams since 1997, the Scots have emerged victorious on two occasions, a 44-14 triumph at Inverleith in 1998 that sealed a Five Nations Grand Slam for Graham Hogg’s men and a 13-7 success in the Churchill Cup in Toronto in June 2006.

In addition, Scotland A have won each of the last four matches to be staged in Galashiels, beating Tonga in November 2009 before seeing off USA Eagles, Ireland Wolfhounds and Italy A to secure a 100% record in season 2010/11.

Squad of 22 for match against Saxons

Head coach Michael Bradley’s 22 for the Saxons clash blends experience and youth, with six full caps (Simon Danielli, Phil Godman, Alex Grove, Dougie Hall, captain Rory Lawson and Richie Vernon) complementing a further four players (Tom Brown, Stuart Hogg, Pat MacArthur and Matt Scott) who will be experiencing A-team rugby for the first time.

30-cap Lawson skippered the Scots to victory in the Churchill Cup fixture six years ago.

Bradley said: “We’re all looking forward to what will be a massive test for us against England Saxons on Friday.

“As is a necessity with A-team rugby, the guys have used the limited time we’ve had together constructively, and we’ve got confidence in how we want to play the game.

“The Saxons showed against Ireland Wolfhounds last Saturday that they’ve got real ability across their side, so we know we need to deliver in every facet of our performance.

A fresh back line

“As a coaching team, we’re happy with the skill set and the balance of the side we’ll have running out come Friday. The backline has a real freshness about it, and boasts considerable international experience in the shape of Rory, Simon and Alex.

“Up front, meanwhile, we have a core of guys who have been performing well as a unit for Glasgow Warriors, aided and abetted by a couple of back row players, Stuart McInally and Richie Vernon, who will bring quality and endeavour to the table.

“It’s a real opportunity for a good number of guys to stick their hand up and show they’re worthy of selection during the RBS 6 Nations Championship. The most effective way for them to do that is to contribute fully to a winning performance against the Saxons.”

With admission to the game being free of charge, Bradley and his troops are hoping for another bumper Borders crowd.

The head coach said: “My assistant coaches, Craig Chalmers and Stevie Scott, know a thing or two about the passion for rugby in the region, and I’m looking forward to experiencing what they’ve told me to expect.

“This is a great opportunity for supporters to take in a full-on international match, with quality players on both sides, without having to pay a penny. It should be a cracking occasion, and I’m sure the fans will play their part by creating the sort of excellent atmosphere Scotland A have regularly enjoyed at Netherdale in recent years.”

Scotland A team to play England Saxons at Netherdale

Friday 3 February (kick-off 7.30pm, admission free)

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)

14 Tom Brown (Edinburgh Rugby)
13 Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors)
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby)
11 Simon Danielli (Ulster)

10 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
9 Rory Lawson (Gloucester, captain)

1 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors)
2 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors)
3 Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors)
4 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors)
5 Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors)
6 Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby)
7 Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors)
8 Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks)

Substitutes

16 Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors)
17 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)
18 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)
19 Roddy Grant (Edinburgh Rugby)
20 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors)
21 Phil Godman (Edinburgh Rugby)
22 Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors)